|Vice President||Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah|
|Vice Secretary-General||Nangolo Mbumba|
|Executive Director||Austin Samupwa|
|Founders||Andimba Toivo ya Toivo|
|Founded||19 April 1960|
|Preceded by||Ovamboland People's Organization|
Hans-Dietrich Genscher Street
|Newspaper||Namibia Today (1960-2015)|
|Think tank||SWAPO Think Tank|
|Youth wing||SWAPO Party Youth League|
|Women's wing||SWAPO Women's Council|
|Elder's wing||SWAPO Elder’s Council|
|Paramilitary wing||People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) (integrated into Namibian Defence Force)|
Socialism with Namibian characteristics
Independence until 2017:
|International affiliation||Socialist International|
|African affiliation||Former Liberation Movements of Southern Africa|
|Seats in the National Assembly|
63 / 96
|Seats in the National Council|
28 / 42
88 / 121
277 / 378
4 / 5
The South West Africa People’s Organisation (//, SWAPO; Afrikaans: Suidwes-Afrikaanse Volks Organisasie, SWAVO; German: Südwestafrikanische Volksorganisation, SWAVO), officially known as the SWAPO Party of Namibia, is a political party and former independence movement in Namibia. Founded in 1960, it has been the governing party in Namibia since the country achieved independence in 1990. The party continues to be dominated in number and influence by the Ovambo ethnic group.
SWAPO held a two-thirds majority in parliament from 1994 to 2019. In the general election held in November 2019, the party won 65.5% of the popular vote and 63 out of the 104 seats in the National Assembly. It also holds 40 out of the 42 seats in the National Council. As of November 2017, Namibian President Hage Geingob has been the president of SWAPO after being elected to the position at the party's electoral congress.
After World War I, the League of Nations gave South West Africa, formerly a German colony, to the United Kingdom as a mandate under the administration of South Africa. When the National Party won the 1948 election in South Africa and subsequently introduced apartheid legislation, these laws were applied as well to South West Africa. It was considered the de facto fifth province of South Africa.
SWAPO was founded on 19 April 1960 as the successor of the Ovamboland People's Organization. Leaders renamed the party to show that it represented all Namibians. But, the organisation had its base among the Ovambo people of northern Namibia, who constituted nearly half the total population.
During 1962, SWAPO had emerged as the dominant nationalist organisation for the Namibian people. It co-opted other groups such as the South West Africa National Union (SWANU), and later in 1976 the Namibia African People's Democratic Organisation. SWAPO used guerrilla tactics to fight the South African Defence Force. On 26 August 1966, the first major clash of the conflict took place, when a unit of the South African Police, supported by the South African Air Force, exchanged fire with SWAPO forces. This date is generally regarded as the start of what became known in South Africa as the Border War.
The country of Angola gained its independence on 11 November 1975 following its war for independence. The leftist Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), supported by Cuba and the Soviet Union, came to power. In March 1976, the MPLA offered SWAPO bases in Angola for launching attacks against the South African military.
When Namibia gained its independence in 1990, SWAPO became the dominant political party. Though the organisation rejected the term South West Africa and preferred to use Namibia, the organisation's original name—derived from the territory's old name—was too deeply rooted in the independence movement to be changed. However, the original full name is no longer used; only the acronym remains. SWAPO, and with it much of Namibia's government and administration, continues to be dominated by the Ovambo ethnic group, despite "considerable efforts to counter [that] perception".
SWAPO president Sam Nujoma was declared Namibia's first President after SWAPO won the inaugural election in 1989. A decade later, Nujoma had the constitution changed so he could run for a third term in 1999, as it limits the presidency to two terms.
In 2004, the SWAPO presidential candidate was Hifikepunye Pohamba, described as Nujoma's hand-picked successor. In 2014, the SWAPO presidential candidate was Hage Geingob, who was the Vice-President of SWAPO.
SWAPO was founded with the aim of attaining the independence of Namibia and thus is part of the African nationalist movement. Pre-independence it harboured a socialist, Marxist–Leninist ideology, a thinking that was not immediately abandoned when independence was achieved in 1990 and SWAPO became the ruling party. Officially, however, it adopted a capitalist ideology, until the electoral congress in 2017 approved the official change to socialism with a "Namibian character", although some Namibians have labeled the change as lacking a "grass-roots [socialist]" nature.
Various commentators have characterised the politics of SWAPO in different ways. Gerhard Tötemeyer, himself a party member, considers its post-independence politics neo-liberalist and social democratic. Henny Seibeb, an opposition politician from the Landless People's Movement, describes the current party ideology as liberal nationalism with traces of "dogmatism, authoritarianism, and statism".
The party president is the top position of SWAPO; in 2012 this was held by Namibia's former president Pohamba. The vice-president is Namibia's current president Hage Geingob, who was elected to that position in 2007 and reconfirmed at the SWAPO congress in December 2012. The third highest position in SWAPO is the Secretary-General, a position held in December 2012 by Nangolo Mbumba. Number four is the Deputy Secretary-General, Omaheke Governor Laura McLeod-Katjirua.
The Politburo of SWAPO is a body that currently[update] consists of:
SWAPO's Central Committee consists of:
President-appointed members (2017):
Although SWAPO receives finances from government for its operations, the party also holds extensive business interests. Through Kalahari Holdings it entered into joint ventures with several companies, most prominently the Namibian branch of MultiChoice, a private satellite TV provider, of which it owns 51%. Kalahari Holdings has further joint ventures with Radio Energy, Africa Online, and businesses in the tourism, farming, security services and health insurance sectors. It owns Namib Contract Haulage, Namprint, Kudu investment, and the Ndilimani Cultural Troupe.
Various groups have claimed that SWAPO committed serious human rights abuses against suspected spies during the independence struggle. Since the early 21st century, they have pressed the government more strongly on this issue. Breaking the Wall of Silence (BWS) is one of the groups founded by people who were detained by SWAPO during the war and abused during interrogations. In 2004, BWS alleged that "In exile, hundreds of SWAPO dependants and members were detained, tortured and killed without trial." SWAPO denies serious infractions and claims anything that did happen was in the name of liberation. Because of a series of successful South African raids, the SWAPO leadership believed that spies existed in the movement. Hundreds of SWAPO cadres were imprisoned, tortured and interrogated.
In 2005, the P.E.A.C.E. Centre (People's Education, Assistance and Counselling for Empowerment) conducted an extensive study on the lives of Namibian ex-fighters and their families fifteen years after Independence. Their published ebook investigates the post-independence lives of those who fought on both sides of the Namibian War of Independence. Data from this research indicate that ex-fighters still[update] exhibit symptoms of long-term post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The findings indicate there is a correlation between the life circumstances of ex-fighters and their lack of resilience to traumatic war experiences. Resiliency has been linked to a number of protective factors, such as the socio-economic situation of the survivors, their socio-political environment, their social support networks, and their cognitive processes.
The study says that, in the case of Namibian ex-fighters, long-term psychological distress is different from a simple PTSD diagnosis. The survivors have almost invariably gone for nearly two decades without seeking treatment, adding to their burdens. During this time, the ex-fighters have been exposed to additional social and psychological stressors through life events. For a person without PTSD, such stressors may have fleeting effects, but for a sufferer of long-term psychological distress, each life incident could reduce the survivor's resilience to trauma, as well as triggering "flashbacks" to events during the war.
41 / 72
53 / 72
55 / 78
55 / 78
54 / 72
77 / 96
63 / 96
19 / 26
21 / 26
24 / 26
24 / 26
40 / 42
28 / 42