Hidipo Hamutenya

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Person.png Hidipo Hamutenya  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Hidipo Hamutenya.jpg
Born17 June 1939
Odibo, Ohangwena Region
Died6 October 2016 (Age 77)
Windhoek, Khomas Region
Alma materSofia University, Lincoln University, Pennsylvania, Syracuse University, McGill University

Employment.png President of the Rally for Democracy and Progress

In office
17 November 2007 - 28 February 2015

Employment.png Namibia/Minister of Foreign Affairs

In office
27 August 2002 - 24 May 2004

Employment.png Namibia/Minister of Trade and Industry

In office
15 April 1993 - 27 August 2002

Hidipo Hamutenya who died in Windhoek on 6 October 2016 was a Namibian politician.[1] A long-time leading member of the South West Africa People's Organisation (SWAPO), Hamutenya was a member of the Cabinet of Namibia from independence in 1990 to 2004. He was defeated in a bid for the party's presidential nomination in 2004 and left SWAPO to form an opposition group, the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), in 2007.

Hidipo Hamutenya was elected to the National Assembly of Namibia with the RDP in the 2009 general election.

Early life and education

Hidipo Hamutenya was born in Odibo, Ohangwena Region. His father, Aaron Hamutenya, was a founding member of SWAPO.[2]

He attended the Augustineum College in Okahandja from 1959 to 1961 and then decided to go into exile. He studied Journalism at the Sofia University in Bulgaria and then stayed in the United States, where he obtained a BA in Political Science and History from Lincoln University, Pennsylvania and a Diploma in Development Studies from Syracuse University, both in 1969. In 1971 Hamutenya graduated from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, with an MA.[3]

Political career

UNIN's 10th anniversary: Namibians Hidipo Hamutenya, Anton Lubowski, Charles Courtney-Clarke, Sam Nujoma and Hage Geingob with Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda

Hidipo Hamutenya served as SWAPO's Representative to the Americas from 1965 to 1972 and as SWAPO's Secretary for Education from 1974 to 1976. He joined the SWAPO Politburo in August 1976, and at the same time he was a founding member of the United Nations Institute for Namibia (UNIN) in Lusaka, Zambia.

Based at the UNIN in Lusaka, Hidipo Hamutenya was Deputy Director and Head of the History and Political Science Department from 1976 to 1981. From 1978 to 1989, he was part of SWAPO's negotiating team for the UN Plan for Namibian Independence, and he was SWAPO's Secretary of Information and Publicity from 1981 to 1991.

Immediately prior to independence, he was a SWAPO member of the Constituent Assembly, which was in place from November 1989 to March 1990,[4] and when Namibia gained its independence in 1990, he became a member of the National Assembly and the Minister of Information and Broadcasting.

Hidipo Hamutenya served as Minister of Information and Broadcasting until 15 April 1993, when he was appointed Minister of Trade and Industry, trading posts with Ben Amathila.[5] He remained in the latter position for nine years, until he became Minister of Foreign Affairs on 27 August 2002 in a cabinet reshuffle.[6]

Hidipo Hamutenya received the 13th highest number of votes 352 in the election to the Central Committee of SWAPO at the party's August 2002 congress.[7]

Falling out with SWAPO

In May 2004 Hidipo Hamutenya sought SWAPO's nomination as its candidate for the Namibian presidential election, which took place later in 2004;[8] his candidacy was proposed by Mosé Penaani Tjitendero and seconded by Hartmut Ruppel. As the leadership contest was underway, Hamutenya was dismissed from his position as Foreign Minister by President Sam Nujoma on 24 May, because Nujoma accused him of inciting division within the ranks of the party in the countries Omaheke region. Hifikepunye Pohamba became the presidential candidate after two rounds of voting.[9]

In November 2007, Hidipo Hamutenya resigned from SWAPO and from his seat in the National Assembly, where he had served for 17 years. In the same month he launched a new party, the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), together with another former minister, Jesaya Nyamu.[10]

2009 presidential campaign

In November 2009, Hidipo Hamutenya was RDP's candidate for President of Namibia. He finished in second place with 88,640 votes (10.91%) behind SWAPO candidate and incumbent President Hifikepunye Pohamba (75.25%). Hamutenya was placed at the top of RDP's electoral list and was one of eight RDP members elected to the National Assembly of Namibia.

In September 2010, Hamutenya and eight other opposition politicians were sworn-in as members of the National Assembly following a six month boycott due to electoral irregularities in the 2009 election.[11]


  • African Personality of the Year (2003), awarded by fDi, a subsidiary of the Financial Times for "his efforts to bring in foreign investment" during his tenure as Minister of Foreign Affairs

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  1. "Hidipo Hamutenya passed on in Windhoek this morning. He was 77"
  2. "Profile of Hamutenya", klausdierks.com.
  3. "Who's Who, entry for Hamutenya, Hidipo - Swapo"
  4. "List of members of the Constituent Assembly", parliament.gov.na.
  5. "Apr 1993 - Cabinet changes", Keesing's Record of World Events, Volume 39, April, 1993 Namibia, Page 39399.
  6. "Aug 2002 - Namibia", Keesing's Record of World Events, Volume 48, August, 2002 Namibia, Page 44924.
  7. "The ruling party's new Central Committee", The Namibian, August 27, 2002.
  8. "Tension grips Swapo", The Namibian, May 27, 2004.
  9. "Pohamba the winner", The Namibian, May 31, 2004.
  10. "New Namibian political party launched in challenge to ruling party", Associated Press (International Herald Tribune), November 18, 2007.
  11. "Full house" The Namibian, 15 September 2010
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