Namibia’s new interim president, Nangolo Mbumba, has said he has no plans to run in the presidential elections in November following the death of President Hage Geingob on Sunday (4 February), with experts predicting the ruling South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO) will likely keep its majority.
Namibia has been hailed for managing a peaceful transition of power after the death of the 82-year-old leader, in power since 2015, who died after a brief battle with cancer. But his successor, Nangolo Mbumba, has announced he has no plans to run for the presidential election due in November this year. “I am not going to be around for the elections, so don’t panic,” Mbumba said at his swearing-in ceremony. Mbumba’s decision is rare among African leaders, who tend often to take any chance they have of clinging to power.
Mbumba’s appointment as interim president didn’t come as a surprise as experts say he is an ideal choice for the sake of continuity and democratic stability. Mbumba had been Geingob’s deputy since 2018, although the spotlight was usually on the charismatic late president. Geingob’s first term coincided with a stagnant economy and high levels of unemployment and poverty, according to the World Bank. His party also faced several corruption scandals during his time in office. Vice President Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, a former deputy prime minister and the ruling SWAPO party’s presidential candidate, will assist Mbumba. Should she be elected in November, the 71-year-old politician would become the country’s first female president.