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Changing of the guard?: An anatomy of power within SWAPO of Namibia
The Nordic Africa Institute, Research Unit.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8439-8148
Zukunftskolleg, University of Konstanz.
Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
2017 (English)In: African Affairs, ISSN 0001-9909, E-ISSN 1468-2621, Vol. 116, no 463, p. 284-310Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

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. Our 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’.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 116, no 463, p. 284-310
Keywords [en]
Namibia, SWAPO
National Category
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:nai:diva-2176DOI: 10.1093/afraf/adw073OAI: oai:DiVA.org:nai-2176DiVA, id: diva2:1184234
Available from: 2018-02-20 Created: 2018-02-20 Last updated: 2018-02-21Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
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More styles
Language
  • de-DE
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  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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