By Graham Hopwood

WELCOME ITULA … Supporters of independent presidential candidate Panduleni Itula welcomed him at the John ya Otto sports field in Wanaheda, Windhoek, yesterday. Itula is on a campaign trail with road shows across Windhoek to spread his message as the national and presidential elections draw closer. Photo: Henry van Rooi

Ever since Namibia’s first post-independence elections in 1994, it has never been difficult to predict the outcome. Even with a lack of opinion polling, it has always been clear that the ruling SWAPO party would win a comfortable two-thirds majority in the National Assembly and that its presidential candidate would perform at a similar level.

Even as other former liberation movements have lost ground in South Africa, Mozambique and Angola, SWAPO has retained its popularity. In 2014, it reached a likely high-water mark of 80%. Its presidential nominee Hage Geingob garnered a remarkable 87%.

Five years later, however, a stumbling economy, a surprise presidential candidate, and a major corruption scandal have combined to make these elections Namibia’s most competitive yet. SWAPO still looks nailed on to win the National Assembly – and probably retain its two-thirds majority – but President Geingob may be punished in the presidential poll.

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