Namibia. During a visit to Zimbabwe in April, President
Hage Geingob drew attention when he spoke in praise of
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his controversial and
violent land reform when predominantly white farmers were
forced to leave land.
Countryaah.com, many Namibians are disappointed that the redistribution
of agricultural land for the benefit of the poor and the
homeless is going too slowly. The country's major commercial
ranches are owned almost exclusively by whites. The
situation is the same in business, where almost all
companies are owned by the white minority, which makes up
about 6% of the population. During the year, work was
underway with a law that will lead to a more equal society.
Under the proposed law, all businesses must be owned by at
least 25% of people who are "racially disadvantaged". In a
statement, Namibia's Chamber of Commerce and Industry warned
that such a proposal would lead to capital flight.
In early October, nearly 120 hippos died in a short time
in the Bwabwata National Park in the northeastern part of
the country. The reason was believed to be that they were
infected by anthrax. In order to prevent the infection from
being passed on to humans and domestic animals, cattle were
vaccinated and over 700 people in the area were treated for
Namibia was one of 17 countries and territories on the
EU's first "black list" of tax havens, published in
1989 First Free Election
In November 89, 710,000 Namibians participated in the
election of representatives to a constitutional assembly.
The UN monitored the elections in which 10 different parties
participated. SWAPO got 60% of the vote, giving the movement
full control of the assembly and power to appoint
60-year-old Sam Nujoma as Namibia's first president.
Independence was proclaimed on March 21, 1990 in the
presence of an honor guard consisting of units from SWAPO
and from the SWA Territory Force - South Africa's military
forces to remain in the country until a new army (National
Army of Namibia) was built.
Namibia's new government was confronted with the legacy
of apartheid - the social inequalities and racial
segregation policy in particular in the health care and
education system. While in the areas traditionally reserved
for Europeans an acceptable educational and health
infrastructure existed, this was largely absent in the areas
where the indigenous population lived - primarily in the
northern part of the country.
With independence, Namibia introduced English as the
official language to replace Afrikaans. The
government set up a Ministry of Informal Education -
especially for literacy of women. In collaboration with
UNICEF, the Ministry decided that Namibia's women should
first be literate in their own languages and only
subsequently learn English. In the health sector, the
government allocated funds for the rehabilitation of some
40,000 war invalids - victims of the 23-year guerrilla
struggle for independence.
The United Nations Development Organization (UNDP)
considered that the implementation of a land reform was one
of the most important issues facing the country in the short
term. The background was that about 65% of the land was in
European hands and that many Europeans did not live on their
property at all.
In mid-February 91, the employees of the municipalities
and the state-owned enterprises carried out a strike
demanding increases in wages, implementation of labor
legislation and in protest of alleged racist measures by the
government. This one responded by characterizing the strike
as financial sabotage. The continuing huge income gaps
caused several economic observers to characterize the
country as a "two-tier economy", for 70% of the population
lives in third world conditions, 25% lives in a transitional
economy, and only 5% of the population live under conditions
linked to the development of the country.