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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Changing of the guard? An anatomy of power within SWAPO of Namibia
Authors:Melber, HenningISNI
Kromrey, Daniela
Welz, MartinISNI
Year:2017
Periodical:African affairs: the journal of the Royal African Society (ISSN 1468-2621)
Volume:116
Issue:463
Pages:284-310
Language:English
Geographic term:Namibia
Subjects:SWAPO
politicians
elite
political conditions
Link:https://doi.org/10.1093/afraf/adw073
Abstract:This article presents an anatomy of power relations and policymaking within the ranks of the former liberation movement South West African People's Organization (SWAPO) in Namibia. It summarizes the features of Namibia's dominant party state and argues that Namibia is a case of competitive authoritarian rule. The analysis documents how the first generation of SWAPO activists, in exile after the early 1960s, has since independence in 1990 remained the most influential segment of the former anti-colonial movement. This continuity is personified in the country's third president, Hage Geingob, and parts of his team in cabinet. Despite some gradual and increasingly visible shifts in the composition of SWAPO MPs, the party's first generation has so far remained largely in control of the country's political affairs. Analysing the background of the ministers serving since independence also shows that a second generation of SWAPO activists, in exile after the mid-1970s, gradually expanded their influence and took over leading positions. Given the dominance of SWAPO and the lack of any meaningful political opposition, a new leadership depends on upward inner-party mobility. Given the limited scope for a younger generation to move into higher offices, the strengthening of democracy through new leadership and innovative thinking is very limited. Rather, politics tends to be reproduced through established networks and bonds with a low degree of permissiveness, which reinforces the nature of the competitive authoritarian regime under the control of 'old men'. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]
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