Poverty, politics, power and privilege Namibia’s black economic elite formation

Type Journal Article - Transitions in Namibia Which Changes for Whom?
Title Poverty, politics, power and privilege Namibia’s black economic elite formation
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2007
Page numbers 110
URL http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:275566/FULLTEXT01.pdf#page=110
Ever since independence, the government of Namibia has held the exploitative and discriminatory
nature of the century of firm occupation under German and South African
settler colonialism and its infamous apartheid system as being responsible for the gross
inequalities characterising the postcolonial social order. Indeed, the inherited socioeconomic
structures placed a heavy burden on the erstwhile freedom fighters of the South
West African People’s Organisation (SWAPO of Namibia) after they had seized legitimate
political power and, subsequently, as the Swapo party, assumed ever greater and
ultimately absolute political control over the country (cf., Melber 2007). The challenges
ahead were by no means eased by the compromises made at the outset to secure the
final stage of the decolonisation process and a transition and transfer of political power
under an arrangement of controlled change. After all, the way to independence required
acceptance of the socioeconomic structures in existence by constitutionally endorsing
the status quo in terms of ownership and property rights. As part of the negotiated settlement,
the scope of social change was confined to reforms within this constitutional
framework guided by a policy of ‘national reconciliation.’

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