Namibia Stands as U.N. Success Story in Africa: Nujoma Takes Reconciliation Path in Power

By Constantine, Gus | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), June 13, 1996 | Go to article overview

Namibia Stands as U.N. Success Story in Africa: Nujoma Takes Reconciliation Path in Power


Constantine, Gus, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Namibia, portrayed by its critics as a classic Marxist state in the making during its struggle in the 1970s and 1980s to free itself from South Africa, has emerged in less than a decade as one of the freest and most democratic nations in Africa.

Under the leadership of President Sam Nujoma, the country also has become the United Nations' greatest success story.

"Everything that went wrong in the peacekeeping and nation-building labors of the United Nations elsewhere went right in Namibia," says David Smock of the U.S. Institute of Peace, who coordinates Africa activities at the think tank and has lived for long periods of time in Africa.

"The United Nations' early involvement with Namibia and the internationalization of Namibia as a regional conflict problem in the 1980s served to assure the attention of the West for the former colony," says Chester Crocker of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Mr. Crocker served as assistant secretary of state for African affairs during the Reagan years. In that capacity he was at the center of events in which southern Africa became a Cold War battlefield, with the United States and the Soviet Union confronting each other through Angolan, Cuban and South African proxies and with Namibia caught in the middle.

Namibia finally was extricated from this tug of war in 1988 when a deal was struck that opened the way for independence from South Africa, forced the Cubans out of Angola and ended the repeated South African incursions through Namibia into Angola.

Under the organizing hand of the United Nations, elections were held in 1989 and Namibian independence was proclaimed on March 21, 1990.

Having won a convincing election but falling just short of electing a veto-proof parliament, the leader of the Southwest Africa People's Organization (SWAPO), Mr. Nujoma, immediately proclaimed a policy of national reconciliation with the white minority that had supported South Africa's efforts to retain control of the territory.

Mr. Nujoma adopted his conciliatory policy even before the much more highly publicized reconciliation of South Africa's Nelson Mandela, who walked out of 27 years in prison and embarked on a conciliatory course toward the apartheid governnment of F.W. de Klerk.

"The central question for the future of democracy in Namibia," says another U.S. official, is whether the country will transform itself from one in which a single party, SWAPO, dominates the political landscape, to one of true political pluralism."

For SWAPO, the problem is one of too much success. As the movement that did the heavy lifting during the liberation struggle, it has been granted by Namibian voters a parallel dominance in the political arena. In the previous election, in December 1994, it won 53 of the 72 seats in the National Assembly, enough even to rewrite the national constitution, if it so desires.

For its principal rival, the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA), a multiracial group that had cooperated with South Africa and opposed SWAPO in the days of its insurgency, the problem is one of overcoming a negative image.

It has four years to turn things around because Mr. Nujoma's term will not expire until the year 2000.

To the relief of those who exercised control of the nation's economic life in the days of South African domination, Namibia has not sought to turn things around.

"Economically, things have remained pretty much as as they were," a U.S. offical said.

What that means, in terms of land tenure, is that ownership of the large commercial tracts geographically in the center of the country have remained in the hands of the white minority, just as the whites have retained their productive farmland in black-ruled Zimbabwe.

In diamond mining, DeBeers, now in partnership with the government, continues as an economic powerhouse. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Namibia Stands as U.N. Success Story in Africa: Nujoma Takes Reconciliation Path in Power
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.