Hifikepunye Pohamba

Hifikepunye Lucas Pohamba is the second and current President of Namibia.

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Hifikepunye Lucas Pohamba (born August 18, 1935)[2][3] is the second and current President of Namibia. He won the 2004 and 2009 presidential elections overwhelmingly as the candidate of the South West Africa People's Organisation (SWAPO) ruling party, taking office in March 2005. He has also been the President of SWAPO since November 2007. Re-elected in 2009, his second term will expire in 2015.

Life and career

As a child, he was educated at an Anglican mission.[2] At the age of 25, Pohamba was a founding member of SWAPO in 1960.[3][4] He was arrested for his political activity but moved to Southern Rhodesia, whence he was deported soon afterwards. He then spent four months in prison in South West Africa[5] before spending two years in Ovamboland under house arrest.[citation needed] In 1964, he went to Lusaka to set up SWAPO's Zambian office,[2][5] and on his return, met the man who was later to become President, Sam Nujoma.[citation needed] Until the achievement of Namibian independence, Pohamba represented SWAPO across Africa,[2][5] although he studied politics in the Soviet Union for a time in the early 1980s.[2][3] He headed SWAPO's 1989 election campaign[4] and was a SWAPO member of the Constituent Assembly, which was in place from November 1989 to March 1990,[6] before becoming a member of the National Assembly at independence in March 1990.[3][5] He was Minister of Home Affairs from March 1990 to 1995, Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources from 1995 to 1997,[2][3][5] and Minister without Portfolio from 1997 to March 2000.[2][7] He was elected as Secretary-General of SWAPO in 1997 and as its Vice-President in 2002.[5] On January 26, 2001, he was appointed Minister of Lands, Resettlement and Rehabilitation,[8] in which position he remained until becoming President in 2005.

Under Pohamba as Minister of Lands, Resettlement and Rehabilitation, Namibia initiated a policy of partial land expropriation from landed white farmers to landless black ones. This policy was introduced to supplement the existing one of "willing buyer-willing seller" to try speed up the process.

After becoming president, Pohamba also took over the chancellorship of the University of Namibia from Nujoma in November 2011.[9]

Presidency

Pohamba was selected as SWAPO's candidate for the 2004 presidential election at an extraordinary party congress held in May 2004. He received 213 votes out of 526 in the first round of voting; in the second round, held on May 30, he won with 341 votes against 167 for Hidipo Hamutenya, having received the support of nearly all of those who had backed third place candidate Nahas Angula in the first round.[10] In the presidential election, held on November 15/16 2004, Pohamba won with 76.44% of the vote,[11] in what has been described as a "landslide", but also denounced as flawed by the opposition.[12] He was backed by Nujoma, who was then serving his third five-year term; Pohamba has been described as Nujoma's hand-picked successor.[13] Pohamba took office as president on March 21, 2005[14] and has since distinguished himself by careful but decisive moves against corruption.



Pohamba with United States President George W. Bush in June 2005.

Although there was speculation that Nujoma would seek re-election as SWAPO President in 2007 and then run for President of Namibia again in 2009, he denied these rumours in early October 2007, saying that he intended to step down as party leader in favour of Pohamba.[15][16] On November 29, 2007, Pohamba was elected as SWAPO President at a party congress; he was the only candidate to be nominated and no voting was deemed necessary. Nujoma said that he was "passing the torch and mantle of leadership to comrade Pohamba".[17] The congress also chose Pohamba as the party's only candidate for the 2009 presidential election.[18][19] Pohamba won the 2009 presidential election, receiving 611,241 totals votes (76.42%). The closest candidate was Hidipo Hamutenya, who received 88,640 (11.08%).[20]



2004 election poster with Pohamba.

Pohamba is a recipient of the Ongulumbashe Medal for Bravery and Long Service.[21]

References

  1. allafrica.com
  2. Profile of Pohamba, Klausdierks.com.
  3. National Assembly profile for Pohamba.
  4. "Profile: Hifikepunye Pohamba", BBC News, 22 November 2004.
  5. Curriculum Vitae for Pohamba, Namibian government website.
  6. List of members of the Constituent Assembly, parliament.gov.na.
  7. "Nujoma names new cabinet", IRIN, March 20, 2000.
  8. "President appoints ruling party secretary-general new land minister", Nampa, January 26, 2001.
  9. Smit, Nico (12 October 2011). "Pohamba is Unam Chancellor". The Namibian. http://www.namibian.com.na/index.php?id=28&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=88511&no_cache=1.
  10. Petros Kuteeue, "Pohamba the winner", The Namibian, May 31, 2004.
  11. "ELECTION UPDATE 2004, NAMIBIA", Electoral Institute of Southern Africa report, number 3, December 10, 2004, page 9.
  12. "Swapo man wins Namibia landslide", BBC News, November 21, 2004.
  13. "Namibians Prepare to Vote", VOA News, November 14, 2004.
  14. "Namibia Swears-in New President", VOA News, March 21, 2005.
  15. "Former president Nujoma to quit active politics", African Press Agency, October 2, 2007.
  16. s24.com/News24/Africa/News/0,,2-11-1447_2194742,00.html "Namibia's ex-president retires", AFP (News24.com), October 3, 2007.
  17. "Nujoma succeeded by Pohamba", AFP, November 30, 2007.
  18. Brigitte Weidlich, [tt_news]=32912&no_cache=1 "A title for Nujoma, brickbats for media", The Namibian, December 3, 2007.
  19. "Namibia: Pohamba for 2009 polls", News24.com, December 4, 2007.
  20. Final result for Presidential election 5 December 2009
  21. The comrade Nujoma trusts like a brother The Namibian 24 May 2004