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SWAPO Party of Namibia
( formerly South-West Africa People's Organization)
Flag of South West Africa People's Organization.svg
Party leader Hage Geingob (since November 26, 2017)
Secretary General Sophia Shaningwa (since November 26, 2017)
vice-chairman Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah (since November 26, 2017)
Honorary Chairman Sam Nujoma
Andimba Toivo ya Toivo
founding April 19, 1960
Place of foundation Windhoek
Headquarters Windhoek
Alignment Marxism , social democracy , African nationalism
Colours) _ _ _
National Assembly Seats
National Council seats
Regional council seats
Local council seats
Website www.swapoparty.org

The SWAPO Party of Namibia ( SWAPO ; formerly South-West Africa People's Organization or in German South-West African People's Organization ) is a political party in Namibia . Since the country gained independence in 1990, it has been the country’s governments on the basis of significant election victories. Before that, the SWAPO was a Marxist- oriented liberation movement .

With its military arm, the People's Liberation Army of Namibia , SWAPO led , among other things, armed battles first from Zambia and later from Angola against the occupying power of South Africa , the Namibian liberation struggle .

The motto is SWAPO United, SWAPO Victorious, Now hard work. (SWAPO United, SWAPO Victorious, hard work now).


The founding day of the party is April 19, 1960. Well-known founding members are Andimba Toivo ya Toivo and Samuel Nujoma . An important predecessor organization of SWAPO was the Ovamboland People's Organization (OPO) founded in 1957 , which had previously left the SWANU due to differences in content .

In 1961, it was decided to prepare for the armed struggle against the South African apartheid occupying power, which began on July 18, 1966. On August 26, 1966, there was the first clash with South African troops.

Since the beginning of 1978, minor armed conflicts have occurred in the border zone between Angola and Namibia. In doing so, u. a. Investments of the Ruacana power station on the Kunene badly damaged. As a result, South Africa undertook a one-day military push to destroy two large SWAPO base camps. The operation was code-named "Moscow and Vietnam". When the South African Army launched an air raid with bombers and airborne units on the SWAPO headquarters near the Angolan city ​​of Cassinga about 250 kilometers northwest of Ruacana on May 4, 1978 as part of Operation Reindeer , around 600 people, including women, were lost in the SWAPO camp and children, their lives. Documents from the SWAPO command were seized by South African military personnel.

In 1982 fighting between South African troops and SWAPO killed 1,268 liberation movement fighters and 77 South African soldiers. At the end of May 1983, SWAPO President Sam Nujoma asked UN Secretary General Perez de Cuellar to negotiate with South Africa and SWAPO about a ceasefire and the implementation of UN Resolution 435 . During several military operations ( Protea , Daisy ) by the South African armed forces in the summer of 1983, more than 5,000 soldiers penetrated up to 250 kilometers into southern Angola and destroyed SWAPO bases. By mid-August 1983, 418 SWAPO fighters and 24 South African soldiers had been killed. South Africa temporarily controlled the Angolan provinces of Cuando Cubango , Cunene and Moxico .

Regional SWAPO representation in Grootfontein

From November 7th to November 11th, 1989, the first free elections took place, in which the SWAPO prevailed against the Democratic Gymnastics Alliance with about 57 percent of the vote and then, Sam Nujoma, was the president. On December 8, 1994, SWAPO won 53 out of 72 seats in the parliamentary elections. In 1999 Nujoma began his third term as President of Namibia after initiating an amendment to the constitution to allow himself a third term. In 2004, he was followed by Hifikepunye Pohamba to the post of President, who is considered to be the candidate chosen by Nujoma himself . Nujoma, however, continued to chair SWAPO until 2007. Then, as agreed, Hifikepunye Pohamba was elected party president and confirmed in office in 2012. Pohamba resigned from all political offices on April 18, 2015. President Hage Geingob took over the party business on a temporary basis and was officially elected party president on November 26, 2016.

Content profile

Politically and ideologically, the SWAPO can be classified as African-nationalist. Since its inception, the party has given itself three different basic programs (1961, 1976, 1991). In the 2004 election manifesto, entitled Program of Action for Peace, Unity and Sustainable Development , the main emphasis is on national unity, peace and reconciliation. Other topics include expanding justice within society and creating a dynamic economy. In the social area, the focus is on land reform, gender equality, improving the education system, expanding health services and infrastructure, and supporting the elderly and people with disabilities.

Land reforms

With regard to land reform , the aim is to distribute commercial farmland more evenly without jeopardizing the productivity of the land in question. There is agreement in the party that the “Willing Buyer, Willing Seller” principle has failed. With the help of property valuations and tax regulations, one would like to develop new land that was previously classified as unproductive. Land reform is also to be promoted by increasing financial resources. In addition, the redistribution process should be accompanied much more by further training and capacity building in order to guarantee sustainable land use.

organization structure

Party congress

The highest decision-making body is the party congress, which meets every five years. It consists of around 570 delegates. The individual members come from the national, regional and district levels as well as various affiliated organizations, such as women's or youth organizations.

In addition to the central committee (60 members), the congress consists of ten delegates from each of the 13 regional executive committees and three delegates from each party district. In addition, 20 delegates from the SWAPO Women's Council , as well as 15 delegates each from the SWAPO Youth League , the SWAPO Elders´ League and the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW), the only affiliated member of SWAPO.

Party leadership

The party leadership consists of the president, the vice-president, the general secretary and the deputy general secretary and is elected by the Congress. The party leadership can also fall back on so-called "National Officers", who act as spokesmen for the party for certain areas. Since December 1, 2012, the office of the Secretary General has been a full-time position and may not be held at the same time as a ministerial post.

Central Committee

The Central Committee (ZK) acts as the highest organ between the party congresses. The Central Committee is composed of the party president, the three other members of the party leadership (vice-president, general secretary, deputy general secretary) and the secretaries of the youth, women's and elders organizations. In addition there are the 13 regional coordinators and 57 members who are elected by the party congress. 6 members are appointed by the party president. At least one meeting of the Central Committee takes place every year, although further meetings can be arranged at the request of the Politburo.


The Politburo accepts in accordance with the statutes of the SWAPO the task as Steering Committee of the Central Committee and is composed of 21 members. The Politburo is responsible for the implementation of all decisions, resolutions and directives of the Party Congress and the Central Committee. The members of the Politburo consist of the party leadership and 17 other members who are elected from the Central Committee. The Politburo meets regularly every four weeks.

Vertical party construction

Vertically, SWAPO is divided from bottom to top into Sections , Branches , Districts , Regions and the national level.


Voting behavior in Namibia is strongly shaped by ethnic loyalty. Since independence, SWAPO has been able to rely almost unrestrictedly on the support of the largest Ovambo population in northern Namibia. These make up about half of the population of Namibia, which means that SWAPO can usually unite the majority of the votes.

Presidential candidate

In principle, the SWAPO chairman is always the party's presidential candidate. According to a party law, if he cannot or does not want to run as a presidential candidate, the highest-ranking SWAPO member follows. For the 2014 presidential elections , this resulted in Hage Geingob being the presidential candidate - the first non- Ovambo candidate .

Election results

Ex-President Hifikepunye Pohamba on a 2004 election campaign poster

houses of Parliament

General election Voting shares Seats
2019 65.45%
2014 80.01%
2009 74.29%
2004 76.10%
1999 76.30%
1994 72.70%
1989 57.30%


Presidential election candidate be right Share of votes
2019 Hage Geingob 464.703 56.3%
2014 Hage Geingob 772.528 86.73%
2009 Hifikepunye Pohamba 611.241 75.25%
2004 Hifikepunye Pohamba 625.605 76.44%
1999 Sam Nujoma 414.096 76.82%
1994 Sam Nujoma 370.452 76.34%

SWAPO top 4

Candidate 2012 Voices 2012 Candidate 2017 Voices 2017
Hifikepunye Pohamba no choice Hage Geingob
Jerry Ekandjo
Nahas Angula
Vice President
Hage Geingob
Jerry Ekandjo
Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana
Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah
Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana
Helmut Angula
Secretary General
Nangolo Mbumba
Utoni Nujoma
Sophia Shaningwa
Armas Amikwiyu
Vice Secretary General
Laura McLeod-Katjirua
Abraham Iyambo
Marco Hausiku
Petrina Haingura
Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun

See also


  • Oiva Angula: SWAPO Captive . Penguin Random House, South Africa 2018, ISBN 9781776093618 .
  • Franz Ansprenger: The SWAPO. Profile of an African liberation movement . Matthias Grünewald Verlag, Mainz 1984, ISBN 3-7867-1143-7 .
  • Information and public relations department of the SWAPO of Namibia (ed.): The emergence of a nation. The liberation struggle for Namibia . Zed Press, London 1981, ISBN 0-86232-388-6 .
  • Sascha Wisotzki: The GDR's support for SWAPO from Namibia in the years 1975 to 1989 Munich 2008 ISBN 978-3-640-18922-9

Web links

Commons : SWAPO  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b SAIRR : Survey of Race Relations in South Africa 1978 . Johannesburg 1979, p. 536
  2. a b c Parties and party systems in Namibia. (PDF; 218 kB) In: Friedrich Ebert Foundation . Retrieved April 21, 2010 .
  3. ^ A b Multiparty Democracy And Elections In Namibia. (PDF; 962 kB) In: EISA. Archived from the original on August 10, 2013 ; accessed on April 21, 2010 (English).
  4. a b Spot the difference: Political party platforms compared. (PDF; 695 kB) In: Namibia Institute for Democracy . Archived from the original on January 7, 2010 ; accessed on March 29, 2011 (English).
  5. Swapo revamps structures. , The Namibian, November 23, 2012 ( memento of February 21, 2013 in the web archive archive.today ) accessed on December 2, 2012
  6. Swapo Succession Race Heats Up, The Namibian on allafrica.com, February 3, 2010
  7. a b Namibia at a glance. (PDF; 650 kB) In: hsf.org.na. Archived from the original on July 13, 2006 ; Retrieved March 1, 2009 .
  8. ^ Hage wins Swapo presidency. Namibia Press Agency, November 27, 2017.