Political commentators yesterday praised President Hage Geingob for nipping the debate about a possible third term as head of state in the bud.
Geingob is constitutionally not allowed to seek a third term.
He reaffirmed yesterday that he has no third term ambition, saying any idea of him pursuing a third term as President is not even up for debate and should be scrapped, once and for all.
“I have stated at many public rallies that I have a contract with the Namibian people. This contract commenced on 21 March 2015, and will end on 20 March 2025. I have no intention of breaking it,” Geingob said in a statement.
He was reacting to a New Era opinion piece authored by Joseph Sinvula and published yesterday.
Political commentator Graham Hopwood said the rumours of a third term seem to be wild and totally unsubstantiated.
“It is good that the President has spoken so clearly and reaffirmed his confidence in the constitution’s commitment to the limit of two five-year terms,” he said, adding that Namibia has operated on that basis since 2005, and there is no reason why it should be changed and exceptions made.
Another commentator, Ndumba Kamwanyah, said the Presidency must be commended for swiftly putting to rest the idea entertained in that opinion piece.
“Presidential succession politics, especially in Africa, is a sensitive matter that requires a cautionary approach. A careless opinion piece about presidential succession is dangerous and can create anarchy in the country,” Kamwanyah warned.
Geingob became Namibia’s president in 2015 after a landslide victory of 87% of the presidential vote. He was re-elected in 2019 with a reduced margin of 57% of the vote.
However, his term as party president started in 2017. He served as acting party president since 2014 when then Swapo president Hifikepunye Pohamba resigned.
Talk of a third term was ignited when screenshots of an alleged discussion between Swapo secretary general Sophia Shaningwa and former education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, on a Swapo WhatsApp group, went viral. Shaningwa purportedly said NamRights executive director Phil ya Nangoloh will be allowed back into Swapo to help fight for another term for Geingob.
Geingob yesterday said Namibia’s two-term presidential limit, as per Article 29 of the Constitution, “is sacrosanct”.
“I have often stated that a principle half-compromised is a principle compromised, and as a member of a Government that has worked tirelessly since independence to establish an institutional framework necessary for democratic governance, I do not intend on compromising our principles,” he stressed.
As someone who served as the chairperson of the Constituent Assembly and the drafting committee which carried out the painstaking mission of producing a world-renowned constitution, under challenging circumstances and in record time, Geingob said he has no intention of reneging on the principles enshrined therein.
“I have the utmost confidence that once my second and final term comes to an end on 20 March 2025, our democracy will be mature and robust enough to undergo a seamless succession of power, as has been proven on two occasions already when comrade Sam Nujoma handed over the reins of power to comrade Hifikepunye Pohamba on 21 March 2005, who then handed over the reins of power to me on 21 March 2015,” he noted.