|1st President of Namibia|
21 March 1990 – 21 March 2005
|Prime Minister||Hage Geingob
|Preceded by||Position Established|
|Succeeded by||Hifikepunye Pohamba|
12 May 1929 |
Ongandjera, Southwest Africa (now Namibia)
|Alma mater||University of Namibia|
Samuel Daniel Shafiishuna Nujoma[pronunciation?] (born 12 May 1929) is a Namibian politician who was the first President of Namibia from 1990 to 2005. He led the South-West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) in its long struggle against South African rule and took office as President when Namibia obtained independence on 21 March 1990. He was subsequently re-elected in 1994 and 1999, remaining in office until March 2005. He was President of SWAPO from its founding in 1960 until 2007.
Sam Nujoma is the son of Helvi Mpingana Kondombolo (1898-2008), a member of the Uukwambi dynasty, and her husband, Daniel Uutoni Nujoma. Nujoma, who was born in 1929, is the eldest of his parents' eleven children.
President of SWAPO
|http://www.klausdierks.com/images/Nujoma_1960s.jpg Sam Nujoma (right) with Bishop Colin Winter and Shapua Kaukungua, 1960s. Original source: Namibia State Archive.|
In 1960 he became the first President of the South-West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO), having co-founded its forerunner, the Ovamboland People's Organization, in the late 1950s. At the time South Africa administered the land under a policy of apartheid, in which the best resources were reserved for those classified white, while other Namibians were treated as inferior. After years of asking the United Nations to ensure the occupying power South Africa released control of South West Africa, he authorised armed resistance in 1966. This began the Namibian War of Independence, which lasted 24 years.
During the struggle, Nujoma took the combat name "Shafiishuna", meaning "lightning", as the name was in his family on his father's side.
President of Namibia
As head of SWAPO, Nujoma was unanimously declared president upon the victory of SWAPO in a United Nations-supervised election in 1989, and was sworn in by UN Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar on 21 March 1990.
In 1992 Norway decided to stop drought relief to Namibia in response to the purchase of an expensive new presidential jet and two new VIP helicopters. The planes were bought just few weeks after Sam Nujoma had appealed to the international community for drought aid. Many years later, Nujoma is still being criticised for excessive luxury and perks he gets at the cost of Namibian state, that is applying for the status of least developed country.
In 1990 Nujoma initiated a plan for land reform, in which land would be redistributed from whites to blacks. Some 12% of the total commercial farmland in the country was taken away from white farmers and given to black citizens by 2007. However, according to a 1998 statement made by the Cabinet of Namibia "the agricultural base is too weak to offer a sustainable basis for prosperity" and 38% of Namibia's rural population continue to live beneath the poverty line as of 2010.
Nujoma was re-elected as President of Namibia in December 1994 with 76.3% of the vote. The constitution of Namibia was changed to allow Nujoma to run for a third five-year term in 1999; this was justified on the grounds that he had not been directly elected for his first term, and the change applied only to Nujoma. He won the 1999 election with 76.8% of the vote. The constitution did not allow Nujoma to run in November 2004 for a fourth term, and there was not much enthusiasm even within SWAPO to change it again. Hifikepunye Pohamba, described by some[who?] as Nujoma's "hand-picked successor", was elected as the candidate for the presidential election during the SWAPO congress held on the 30 May 2004, defeating two other candidates, Nahas Angula and Hidipo Hamutenya. The latter had been dismissed from his post of Foreign Affairs minister by Nujoma barely two days before the congress. Pohamba was elected with a large majority and was sworn in on 21 March 2005.
While Pohamba replaced Nujoma as the President of Namibia, Nujoma stayed on as President of SWAPO. There was speculation that he would be re-elected as SWAPO leader in 2007 and that he was planning to run for president again in 2009. In early October 2007, however, Nujoma said that he had no intention of seeking re-election as SWAPO President and would stand aside in favor of Pohamba, the Vice-President of SWAPO, later in the year, after 47 years as party leader. Pohamba was accordingly elected unopposed as SWAPO President on 29 November 2007 at a party congress. Nujoma said that he was "passing the torch and mantle of leadership to comrade Pohamba". The congress also decided to give Nujoma the title of Leader of the Namibian Revolution, in addition to his existing title, Founding Father of the Namibian Nation. Choosing to leave active politics, Nujoma was not re-elected to the SWAPO Central Committee or the Politburo, but the congress granted him permission to attend meetings of the Central Committee and Politburo "at his discretion". He may also receive the title of National Chairman of SWAPO.
The director of the National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) in Namibia stated that Nujoma had connections to the CIA. The organisation has asked the International Criminal Court to investigate Nujoma and what they say is his role in disappearances during his term. To date, these claims have not been substantiated.
Nujoma's mother, Kuku Helvi-Mpingana Kondombombolo, lived to an exceptionally old age, dying in November 2008; she was reportedly more than 100 years old.
In 2009, Sam Nujoma attained a Master's degree in Geology from the University of Namibia.
Despite stepping down from a formal role, Nujoma is still active in the political sphere, regularly campaigning for SWAPO at various rallies and functions across the country.
Awards and recognition
- Indira Gandhi Prize from the government of India, 1990
- the Cheetah Conservation Fund’s 2004 Lifetime Conservation Award. Nujoma is the international patron of this organisation since 1991.
- a Doctorate honoris causa in Public Management from Polytechnic of Namibia in 2005.
- Hilukilwa, Placido (8 December 2008). "Namibië begrawe sy volksmoeder" [Namibia buries her mother of the nation]. Die Republikein (in Afrikaans).
- Baffour Ankomah, Nujoma - 'No Fourth Term For Me', Swans, 17 November 2003.
- , 6 August 1992.
- Land reform reproducing poverty IRIN News, 15 November 2007
- Elections in Namibia, African Elections Database.
- "NAMIBIA: Election expected to be low-key", IRIN, 12 November 2004.
- John Grobler, "Play it again, Sam", Mail & Guardian Online (South Africa), 4 February 2007.
- "Former president Nujoma to quit active politics", African Press Agency, 2 October 2007.
- "Namibia's ex-president retires", AFP (News24.com), 3 October 2007.
- "Nujoma succeeded by Pohamba", AFP (IOL), 30 November 2007.
- Brigitte Weidlich, "A title for Nujoma, brickbats for media", The Namibian, 3 December 2007.
- Christof Maletsky, "Swapo big names dropped", The Namibian, 3 December 2007.
- P. ya Nangoloh, An expose about Nujoma's CIA connections. Part 1, 7 February 2007.
- "Namibian group seeks ICC investigation of ex-leader". Reuters, republished on CNN.com (CNN). 2007-07-31. Retrieved 2007-08-10.
- "'Grandmother of the nation' passes away", The Namibian, 27 November 2008.
- "President Nujoma Given Conservation Award". CCF News. Spring 2005.
- Philander, Frederick (Frederick Philander 11 April 2005). "Namibia: Do We Have What It Takes?". New Era.
- Sam Nujoma, Where Others Wavered, The Autobiography of Sam Nujoma, London 2001
|President of Namibia
1990 – 2005