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#NamibiaVotes19: Why does two-thirds matter?

#NamibiaVotes19: Why does two-thirds matter?

By Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).

Swapo has enjoyed a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly since 1994 and in the National Council since 1993.

In theory, if Swapo has two-thirds majorities in both the National Council and the National Assembly it can change the Constitution without the agreement of the other parties (Article 132). Since Independence there have been three constitutional amendment acts – most controversially in 1998 to allow for a third term for President Sam Nujoma and in 2014 to enlarge parliament and create a vice-presidency position.

The significance of the two-thirds majority at elections is, however, mainly psychological. The opposition believe that if Swapo falls below the two-thirds mark it would indicate that the ruling party is in decline and that they might be only one or two elections away from gaining a majority and forming a government.

For Swapo – being above two-thirds confirms the party as a dominant force and helps reinforce the idea of ‘the Mighty Swapo’ among supporters. We have seen from countries like South Africa and Botswana that once a ruling party falls below two-thirds it tends to continue losing support at subsequent elections.

Otherwise, the two-thirds majority can be of significance when it comes to the passing of bills. So for example, the President has no choice but to assent to a bill that has been passed by two-thirds of the National Assembly and confirmed by the National Council. The National Assembly can also pass a bill by a two-thirds majority even if the National Council has objections to the draft law.

The two-thirds majority can also be used to approve certain far-reaching decisions such as; declaration of a state of emergency; removal of the president from office; reversing presidential appointments; holding sessions of the National Assembly in camera and removal from office of the Auditor-General.

The two-thirds majority has not been used to take such actions since independence.
Swapo has mostly been cautious about using its two-thirds majority to change the constitution although the wisdom of the 1998 third term amendment is still debated while civil society felt there was not enough consultation regarding the 2014 changes.

IPPR has argued that major changes to the constitution should at least be the subject of national consultations and possibly referenda rather than simply being at the whim of the ruling party.


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Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia


20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.