Zuma congratulates Namibia's Pohamba

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma has joined African leaders and other prominent figures, in congratulating Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba following his re-lection for a second five-year term in office.

Pohamba won more than 75 percent of the vote in last week's elections.

"I would like to reconfirm my appreciation of the excellent, warm and close relations that exist between our two countries and between its people," said Zuma, adding that he hoped the "close and brotherly ties" will continue to prosper..

South Africa is one of Namibia's most important economic partners, with trade between the two countries accounting for about two thirds of Namibia's total foreign trade.

Pohamba's party the South West Africa People's Organisation (SWAPO), which has been in power since the country gained independence in 1990, also maintained its two-thirds majority in parliament.

The party is popular among many voters for maintaining peace and stability among the 13 ethnic groupings in the country.

The Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), which broke away from SWAPO and is led by former foreign minister Hidipo Hamutenya, secured 11 percent of the vote.

The Namibian government has since independence been hailed for improving education and health care. But poverty remains a major problem, despite rich deposits of diamonds and uranium.