Hifikepunye Lucas Pohamba (born 18 August 1936) is a Namibian
politician who served as the second President of
Namibia from 21 March
2005 to 21 March 2015. He won the 2004 election overwhelmingly as the
candidate of SWAPO, the ruling party, and he was re-elected in the
2009 election. Pohamba was the President of
SWAPO from 2007 until his
retirement in 2015. Pohamba is a recipient of the Ibrahim Prize.
Prior to his Presidency, Pohamba served in various ministerial
positions, beginning at Namibia's independence in 1990: he was
Minister of Home Affairs from 1990 to 1995, Minister of Fisheries from
1995 to 1997, Minister without Portfolio from 1997 to 2000, and
Minister of Lands, Resettlement and Rehabilitation from 2001 to 2005.
He was also Secretary-General of
SWAPO from 1997 to 2002 and
SWAPO from 2002 to 2007.
1 Life and career
1.2 Awards and honours
Life and career
As a child, he completed his primary education in the Anglican Holy
Cross Mission school in Onamunhama. At the age of 24, Pohamba
was a founding member of
SWAPO in 1960. He was arrested for his
political activity but moved to Southern Rhodesia, when he was
deported soon afterwards. He then spent four months in prison in South
West Africa before spending two years in
Ovamboland under house
arrest. In 1964, he went to
Lusaka to set up SWAPO's
Zambian office, and on his return, met the man who was later to
become President, Sam Nujoma. Until the achievement
of Namibian independence, Pohamba represented
Africa, He studied politics in the
Soviet Union for a time in
the early 1980s. He headed SWAPO's 1989 election campaign and
SWAPO member of the Constituent Assembly, which was in place
from November 1989 to March 1990, before becoming a member of the
National Assembly at independence in March 1990. He was Minister
of Home Affairs from March 1990 to 1995, Minister of Fisheries and
Marine Resources from 1995 to 1997, and Minister without
Portfolio from 1997 to March 2000. He was elected as
SWAPO in 1997 and as its Vice-President in
2002. On 26 January 2001, he was appointed Minister of Lands,
Resettlement and Rehabilitation, in which position he remained
until becoming President in 2005.
Under Pohamba as Minister of Lands, Resettlement and Rehabilitation,
Namibia initiated a policy of partial land expropriation from landed
white farmers to landless black ones. This policy was introduced to
supplement the existing one of "willing buyer-willing seller" to try
speed up the process.
After becoming President, Pohamba also took over the chancellorship of
the University of
Namibia from Nujoma in November 2011.
He was active in the
Ovamboland People's Organization, a national
liberation movement that in 1960 transformed into SWAPO. Pohamba was a
founding member of the organisation's new incarnation and left his job
in the mine to work as a full-time organiser for the group.
Pohamba returned several times to South West Africa to work on behalf
of SWAPO, and he was again charged with agitating against South
African rule. 
Pohamba with United States President
George W. Bush
George W. Bush in June 2005.
Pohamba was selected as SWAPO's candidate for the 2004 presidential
election at an extraordinary party congress held in May 2004. He
received 213 votes out of 526 in the first round of voting; in the
second round, held on 30 May, he won with 341 votes against 167 for
Hidipo Hamutenya, having received the support of nearly all of those
who had backed third place candidate
Nahas Angula in the first
round. In the presidential election, held on 15/16 November 2004,
Pohamba won with 76.44% of the vote, in what has been described as
a "landslide", but also denounced as flawed by the opposition. He
was backed by Nujoma, who was then serving his third five-year term;
Pohamba has been described as Nujoma's hand-picked successor.
Pohamba took office as president on 21 March 2005 and has since
distinguished himself by careful but decisive moves against
Although there was speculation that Nujoma would seek re-election as
SWAPO President in 2007 and then run for President of
Namibia again in
2009, he denied these rumours in early October 2007, saying that he
intended to step down as party leader in favour of Pohamba. On
29 November 2007, Pohamba was elected as
SWAPO President at a party
congress; he was the only candidate to be nominated and no voting was
deemed necessary. Nujoma said that he was "passing the torch and
mantle of leadership to comrade Pohamba". The congress also chose
Pohamba as the party's only candidate for the 2009 presidential
2004 election poster with Pohamba.
Pohamba won a second term in the November 2009 presidential election,
receiving 611,241 total votes (76.42%). The second place candidate,
Hidipo Hamutenya (who had left
SWAPO and gone into opposition),
received 88,640 (11.08%).
Pohamba was unable to stand for re-election in 2014 due to
constitutional term limits. The election was again won overwhelmingly
by SWAPO, and Pohamba was succeeded by
Hage Geingob on 21 March 2015.
Less than a month later, on 19 April 2015, he retired as President of
He ended his term with high approval ratings, being hailed for pushing
for gender equality and increased spending on housing and
Awards and honours
Pohamba is a recipient of the
Omugulugwombashe Medal for Bravery and
In 2011, he was awarded a Doctorate of Philosophy honoris causa by the
University of Namibia.
In 2015, he was awarded the 2014 Mo
Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in
African Leadership of $5 million by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.
On 29 April 2016, he was awarded a Doctorate honoris causa by the
University for Development Studies, Tamale, Ghana
^ a b c d e f g Profile of Pohamba, Klausdierks.com.
^ a b c d e National Assembly profile for Pohamba Archived 11
September 2003 at the Wayback Machine..
SWAPO Party and Namibian President". SWAPO. 2009. Retrieved
^ a b "Profile: Hifikepunye Pohamba", BBC News, 22 November 2004.
^ a b c d e f Curriculum Vitae for Pohamba Archived 24 November 2004
at the Wayback Machine., Namibian government website.
^ List of members of the Constituent Assembly, parliament.gov.na.
^ "Nujoma names new cabinet", IRIN, 20 March 2000.
^ "President appoints ruling party secretary-general new land
minister", Nampa, 26 January 2001.
^ Smit, Nico (12 October 2011). "Pohamba is Unam Chancellor". The
^ a b Christopher Saunders (3 January 2015). "Hifikepunye Pohamba".
Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
^ Petros Kuteeue, ""Pohamba the winner"". Archived from the original
on 13 January 2005. Retrieved 5 October 2007. CS1 maint: BOT:
original-url status unknown (link) , The Namibian, 31 May 2004.
^ "ELECTION UPDATE 2004, NAMIBIA" Archived 3 December 2008 at the
Electoral Institute of Southern Africa report,
number 3, 10 December 2004, page 9.
^ "Swapo man wins
Namibia landslide", BBC News, 21 November 2004.
^ "Namibians Prepare to Vote" Archived 12 March 2007 at the Wayback
Machine., VOA News, 14 November 2004.
Namibia Swears-in New President" Archived 12 March 2007 at the
Wayback Machine., VOA News, 21 March 2005.
^ "Former president Nujoma to quit active politics", African Press
Agency, 2 October 2007.
^ "Namibia's ex-president retires". News 23. 3 October 2007. Retrieved
4 March 2015.
^ "Nujoma succeeded by Pohamba", AFP, 30 November 2007.
^ Brigitte Weidlich (3 December 2007). "A title for Nujoma, brickbats
for media". The Namibian. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
^ "Namibia: Pohamba for 2009 polls" Archived 3 December 2007 at the
Wayback Machine., News24.com, 4 December 2007.
^ Final result for Presidential election 5 December 2009
^ "Pohamba Hands Over All Power", The Namibian, 19 April 2015.
^ "Namibia's leader wins Mo Ibrahim African leadership prize". Mail
& Guardian. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
^ "The comrade Nujoma trusts like a brother", The Namibian, 24 May
^ "Pohamba receives an honorary doctorate". The Namibian. 16 May 2011.
Retrieved 4 March 2015.
^ "Mo Ibrahim prize:
Namibia President Pohamba gets $5m award". BBC
News. 2 March 2015. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hifikepunye Pohamba.
President of Namibia
President of SWAPO
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Presidents of Namibia
Ibrahim Prize recipients
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Festus Mogae (2008)
no award (2009-2010)
Pedro Pires (2011)
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