of Namibia takes place in a framework of a presidential
representative democratic republic, whereby the President
of Namibia is both head of state and head of government,
and of a pluriform multi-party system. Executive power
is exercised by the government. Legislative power is
vested in both the government and the two chambers of
parliament. The Judiciary is independent of the executive
and the legislature.
The Constituent Assembly of Namibia produced a constitution
which established a multi-party system and a bill of
rights. It also limited the executive president to two
5-year terms and provided for the private ownership
of property. The three branches of government are subject
to checks and balances, and a provision is made for
judicial review. The constitution also states that Namibia
should have a mixed economy, and foreign investment
should be encouraged.
While the ethnic-based three-tier South
African-imposed governing authorities have been dissolved,
the current government pledged for the sake of national
reconciliation to retain civil servants employed during
the colonial period. The government is still organizing
itself both on a national and regional level.
The Constituent Assembly converted
itself into the National Assembly on February 16, 1990,
retaining all the members elected on a straight party
The Namibian head of state is the president,
elected by popular vote every five years. The government
is headed by the prime minister, who, together with
his cabinet, is appointed by the president. SWAPO, the
primary force behind independence is still currently
the country's largest party.
|Hifikepunye Pohamba, President of Namibia
Parliament has two chambers. The National Assembly has
78 members, elected for a five year term, 72 members
elected by proportional representation and 6 members
appointed by the president. The National Council has
26 members, elected for a six year term in double-seat
constituencies (regions). The Assembly is the primary
legislative body, with the Council playing more of an
advisory role. The 1990 constitution is noted for being
one of the first to incorporate protection of the environment
into its text. Namibia is a democratic but one party
dominant state with the South-West Africa People's Organisation
in power. Opposition parties are allowed, but are widely
considered to have no real chance of gaining power.
The highest judicial body is the Supreme
Court, whose judges are appointed by the president on
the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission.
The judicial structure in Namibia parallels that of
South Africa. In 1919, Roman-Dutch law was declared
the common law of the territory and remains so to the
|Supreme Court building in Windhoek.
Political parties and elections
Elections were held in 1992, to elect members of 13
newly established Regional Councils, as well as new
municipal officials. Two members from each Regional
Council serve simultaneously as members of the National
Council, the country's second house of Parliament. Nineteen
of its members are from the ruling SWAPO party, and
seven are from the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA).
In December 1994, elections were held for the President
and the National Assembly.
Namibia has about 40 political groups,
ranging from modern political parties to traditional
groups based on tribal authority. Some represent single
tribes or ethnic groups while others encompass several.
Most participate in political alliances, some of which
are multiracial, with frequently shifting membership.
SWAPO is the ruling party, and all
but one of the new government's first cabinet posts
went to SWAPO members. A Marxist oriented movement,
SWAPO has become more pragmatic and now espouses the
need for a mixed economy and Democracy. SWAPO has been
a legal political party since its formation and was
cautiously active in Namibia, although before implementation
of the UN Plan, it was forbidden to hold meetings of
more than 20 people, and its leadership was subject
to frequent detention. SWAPO draws its strength principally,
but not exclusively, from within the Ovambo tribe. In
December 1976, the UN General Assembly recognized SWAPO
as "the sole and authentic representative of the
Namibian people," a characterization other internal
parties did not accept.
In 1999 presidential and parliamentary
elections, SWAPO continued its history of political
dominance, taking 55 of the 72 Assembly seats, and returning
President Sam Nujoma to the office for his third term.
The principal opposition parties are the Congress of
Democrats (CoD) and the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance
(DTA), with each possessing seven seats in the National
Namibia is divided in 13 regions; Caprivi, Erongo, Hardap,
Karas, Khomas, Kunene, Ohangwena, Okavango, Omaheke,
Omusati, Oshana, Oshikoto, Otjozondjupa
International organization participation
Namibia is member of ACP, AfDB, C, ECA, FAO, G-77, IAEA,
IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO,
IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO (correspondent),
ITU, NAM, OAU, OPCW, SACU, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO,
UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMEE, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO,