The Financial Express

Namibia’s president Hage Geingob wins re-election

| Updated: December 04, 2019 12:20:22

Namibia's incumbent President Hage Geingob - Reuters file photo Namibia's incumbent President Hage Geingob - Reuters file photo

Namibia's president Hage Geingob has been re-elected for a second term, the country's electoral commission says.

Mr Geingob polled 56.3 per cent in Wednesday's election, well ahead of his nearest rival Panduleni Itula with 29.4 per cent.

However, Mr Geingob's tally was well down from the 87 per cent with which he won his first term in 2014.

He went on social media to thank Namibians for returning him to office, promising to bring tangible improvements to their lives.

His Swapo party has ruled Namibia for nearly three decades since it gained independence from South Africa.

The sparsely-populated country has suffered from economic recession, hit by serious drought and low prices for its main mineral exports, diamonds and uranium, reports the BBC.

The Bank of Namibia is predicting a third year of recession, with the economy due to shrink by 1.7 per cent in 2019.

Swapo has also been hit by a fisheries scandal, with two former ministers under arrest for allegedly taking bribes to give licences to the Icelandic fishing firm Samherji.

Former Justice Minister Sakeus Shanghala and former Fisheries Minister Bernard Esau have been charged with money laundering and fraud.

Parliamentary setback

"I am just a proud Namibian that we could have free and fair elections, no fighting, no attacking each other, free movement was allowed," said President Geingob after the result was announced.

His main rival Mr Itula is also a Swapo member, but stood as an independent.

The official opposition candidate - McHenry Venaani of the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) - finished third with 5.3 per cent.

He said he was considering legal action over what he called "anomalies and irregularities" in the election.

Namibia uses electronic voting machines, and Mr Venaani went to court shortly before the election, arguing they were open to manipulation. The court, however, rejected his case.

In parliamentary elections, Swapo lost its two-thirds majority in the 96-member chamber, winning 63 seats instead of its previous 77.

The PDM won 16 seats, increasing its total by 11.

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