Namibia’s president picks this year’s Mo Ibrahim African Leadership prize

4th March 2015 From TimesLive SA, we hear that Namibia’s outgoing president, Hifikepunye Pohamba, is this year’s honoree for the Mo Ibrahim Foundation’s African leadership prize, an award valued at $5 million and meant to recognise good governance.

Since its inception in 2007, the award, set up by telecom tycoon Mo Ibrahim, has been presented only three times to three former presidents, from Cape Verde, Mozambique and Botswana. No one was found to have met the criteria in the other years.

To win the prize, a leader must have been democratically elected and have left office in the last three years, serving only their constitutionally mandated term. The winner must also have displayed “exceptional leadership”.

President Hifikepunye Pohamba, 79, was first elected president in 2005 and is due to step down this month. The elections held under his leadership got an international pass mark and were considered by observers to be free and fair.

At the award announcement ceremony in Nairobi, the Mo Ibrahim committee praised Pohamba’s commitment to the rule of law and his respect for the constitution, as well as his promotion of gender equality.

Prior to his election as president, President Pohamba was a founding member of the now ruling South West African People’s Organisation (SWAPO). He was imprisoned in the 1960s for political activism but continued to fight against South Africa’s apartheid government until 1994.

He held home affairs and marine resources portfolios in cabinet prior to becoming president.

He will receive $5 million, given over 10 years, and after that, $200,000 a year for life.

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