Election Watch

Promoting democracy in Namibia

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Namibians have strong policy preferences

Most Namibians favour policy changes from the status quo on several specific policies asked about in the 2014 Afrobarometer Round 6 survey, despite showing strong support for the ruling party. For example, 78% of Namibians interviewed for the Round 6 Afrobarometer opinion poll favoured the adoption of the Basic Income Grant Programme (BIG) even if it required new taxes. Although the government has rejected BIG, the people favour it nearly 8 out of ten. Similarly, nearly 9 in 10 Namibians interviewed want reform in the tendering system to “eliminate nepotism and favouritism”.

Economy well managed but concern over lack of jobs

Most Namibians think that the economy has been well managed over the years, but at the same time, they think that the government has failed in creating enough jobs and narrowing income gaps, according to data released from the Round 6 Afrobarometer survey of 2014. Successive Afrobarometer surveys have shown that Namibians think that the Namibian economy is managed well (62% in 2012, 60 percent in 2008, and 76 percent in 2006).

Afrobarometer Round 6 on party support

Swapo continues to dominate the political scene in Namibia, with strong levels of public trust and voter preference, but public tolerance of opposition parties may also be on the increase, according to the latest Afrobarometer survey.
Opposition parties continue to survive and scramble for the minor places, with the DTA and the Rally for Democracy and Progress in a close race for a distant second place behind Swapo.

Engaged or apathetic?

Are Namibians interested in politics? Asked how interested they were in public affairs, 59 percent of respondents to the Afrobarometer survey said they were either somewhat or very interested. The remaining 41 percent said they were not at all interested or not very interested. The fact that just over 40 percent seem to have little interest in politics appears to go against recent turnout figures for national elections with over 80 percent of the registered electorate voting in 2004.

In power but not in touch?

Out of Namibia’s elected politicians, Namibians are least likely to contact a National Assembly member if they have a problem or want to pass on their views. Ninety six percent of respondents said they had not contacted a member of the National Assembly (NA) in the past year, according to the Afrobarometer opinion survey. Three percent had contacted an NA MP either once or a few times.

Fear on the march

Nearly two thirds of Namibians fear becoming a victim of political intimidation or violence during an election campaign, according to the Afrobarometer opinion survey. Some 10 percent were very fearful that they would be on the receiving end of intimidation or violence, while 55 percent were ‘somewhat’ or a ‘little bit’ concerned about the issue.

Faith in democracy deepens

The latest round of the Afrobarometer opinion survey, conducted in November 2008 across Namibia, found that Namibians are becoming more democratic. More and more Namibians are rejecting authoritarian and non-democratic means of ruling, according to the survey of 1,200 people. Some 63 percent of those surveyed agreed that ‘democracy is always preferable’ as compared to 57 percent when the survey was previously carried out in 2006.

© 2019 Election Watch

Election Watch is a project of the Institute for Public Policy Research in Windhoek, Namibia. Election Watch is funded by the European Union and the Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives.