Namibia
Head of state and government
Hifikepunye Pohamba
Death penalty
abolitionist for all crimes
Population
2.3 million
Life expectancy
62.5 years
Under-5 mortality
47.5 per 1,000
Adult literacy
88.5 per cent

The dispute over the 2009 National Assembly elections remained unresolved in the Supreme Court. The long-running treason trial of Caprivi detainees continued. Human rights defenders, in particular those considered critical of the government and ruling party, were attacked by the government and by individuals linked to the government and the ruling South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) party.

Election dispute

The Supreme Court reserved judgement after nine political parties appealed against the ruling which dismissed their challenge to declare null and void the results of the 2009 National Assembly elections. The parties had made their challenge following inter-party violence and reports of irregularities by the Electoral Commission of Namibia. President Pohamba of SWAPO was declared the winner in 2009 and the party won 54 of the 72 National Assembly seats.

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Caprivi detainees’ trial

The trial of detainees arrested in connection with the 1999 attacks by a secessionist group, the Caprivi Liberation Army, continued with no sign of an end. Most of the 112 detainees had been in custody for at least 11 years. Their continued detention violated their right to a fair trial without undue delay. The death of Bevin Joshua Tubwikale in April brought the number of detainees who have died in custody since the trial began in 2003 to at least 19.

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Freedom of expression, association and assembly

The police used excessive force to arrest peaceful protesters demonstrating against government policies. On 25 January, officers of the national police and the Windhoek police fired rubber bullets and live ammunition at some 500 taxi drivers who were demonstrating against traffic fines. At least five demonstrators were injured, including Matheus Leonard.

  • In May, police officers assaulted Freddy Haixwa, President of the Wisdom Youth Organization (WIYO), who was leading about 400 WIYO demonstrators to the offices of the Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture.
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Human rights defenders

On 4 and 5 May, the national radio and television news quoted President Pohamba referring to the human rights organization NAMRIGHTS as “that diminutive human rights organization”. Also in May, the Secretary General of the National Union of Namibian Workers, Evilastus Kaaronda, received death threats after his organization called for the prosecution of people accused of misappropriating monies from the Government Institutions Pension Fund, including senior government officials. A government audit had confirmed that N$660 million (approximately US$74 million) had been misappropriated.

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