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Republic of Zamwazia
République du Zamwazia (French)
Orepublika yaZamwazia (Oshiwambo)
Flag of Cunenia
Coat of Arms of Cunenia
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: Liberté. Justice. Égalité.
Freedom. Justice. Equality.
Map of Cunenia
Location of Zamwazia (dark blue) – in the African Union (light blue)
Capital Oshakati
17°47′S 15°41′E
Official languages French
Recognised regional languages Kwangali, Ovambo, Umbundu, Kwanyama, Herero, Khoekhoe
Ethnic groups Ovambo, Kavango, Herero, Xindonga
Demonym Zamwazia
Government Unitary semi-presidential republic
Mzee Mpingana (OLN)
Valérie Kapere (OLN)
Legislature National Assembly
• Colonised by France
• Independence
• Total
504,646 km2 (194,845 sq mi) (53rd)
• 2018 estimate
2,704,024 (138th)
GDP (PPP) 2018 estimate
• Total
$28.489 billion (133rd)
• Per capita
$10,536 (111th)
GDP (nominal) 2018 estimate
• Total
$10.167 billion (139th)
• Per capita
$3,760 (115th)
Gini (2018) 45.0
HDI (2018) 0.571
Currency Zamwazian Franc
Time zone West Africa Time (UTC+1)
Date format dd/mm/yy
Drives on the right
Calling code +88
Internet TLD .zm

The Republic of Zamwazia (French: République du Zamwazia) also known as Zamwazia is a sovereign state in Southern Africa. It boarders Angola to the north, Zambia to the east, and Namibia to the south. Its western coastline is completely boarded by the Atlantic Ocean.

The land that makes up Zamwazia have been inhabited for thousands of years mainly by nomadic tribes such as the Ovambo and Kavango. In the 18th century the Southern African Colonisation Society took over the western coastline of southern Africa at the behest of Napoleon III incorporating the area into the French colonial empire. Following the Berlin Conference the territory was officially established as French South Africa. Following the Second World War Zamwazia became a hotbed of anti-colonial sentiment especially after the imposition of the apartheid system in neighbouring South Africa. The colony was granted autonomy over the 1950's within the framework of the French community.

In 1960 the country became independent as the Republic of Zamwazia. The first president, Gabriel Ithete of the United People's Congress-African Democratic Rally (CPU-RDA), implemented a socialist economic policy with the government nationalising businesses, although the economy remained largely a mix of private and public enterprises. Support for the MPLA in the bordering Angolan War of Independence alarmed France and South Africa who in 1966 backed a coup that deposed Ithete and installed an anti-communist government in Oshakati. The new government became a key ally to South Africa during the South African Border War supporting the SADF against Namibian liberation organisation SWAPO. Increasing dissatisfaction with the new government's status as a de facto satellite state of South Africa and Rhodesia led in 1970 to the start of the Zamwazian Bush War with the government fighting the Organisation for Black Liberation (OLN) and the Democratic Liberation Forces (FLD) who were supported by the Soviet Union, China and to a lesser extent France. The country soon experienced spillover with OLN and FLD forces assisting the MPLA and SWAPO and the government supporting the SADF and UNITA.

Following the transition to democracy South Africa and the independence of Namibia led to the government and the OLN to begin negotiations for a peace settlement. A power sharing deal was agreed with the OLN winning the 1993 elections and heralding the country through post-war reconstruction and democratisation. Since the transition to democracy the OLN has held power twice from 1993 to 2008 and 2018 to present, with the Rainbow Coalition governing from 2008 to 2018.

Zamwazia currently is a unitary parliamentary republic with Roman Catholicism being proscribed as the state religion. Zamwazia has managed to achieve relative social stability and has in recent years started to drop many of the authoritarian tendencies that was seen throughout the majority of the country's independence. Zamwazia is rich in minerals such as diamonds and uranium. However corruption, large inequalities and a developing healthcare system still remain chronic problems in Zamwazia. Zamwazia is a member of the United Nations, African Union, COMESA, SADC and the Non-Aligned Movement.



Pre-colonial history

It is speculated that the first inhabitants to live in the region that makes up modern day Zamwazia were the Khoisan hunter-gatherers. The San people (also known as the bushmen) also inhabited the region, with fruits, nuts and antelopes serving as their main sources of food.

Like much of sub-Saharan Africa, Zamwazia experienced the Bantu expansion. The Ovambo and Kavango settled in the what is today Cunenia, northern Namibia, western Zambia and southern Angola. The Ovambo and Kavango people mainly lived off farming, rearing livestock, making metals and fishing. Around 1400 the Mbunda Kingdom formed by the Mbunda people was formed in what is now eastern Okavango, and rapidly extended their control over the region, conquering the Chokwe, Lovale, The Mbunda ruled through an absolute monarch (known as the Mwene wa Ngoma, or king) alongside a system of decentralised traditional landowners. In the 17th century the nomadic pastoral Herero people moved to the region, first around the Kaokoland alongside the Himba people.

French Counènia

The first Europeans to enter modern day Zamwazia were Portuguese traders in the 15th century, who were expanding over Portuguese Angola. However despite having initial interest in the region the Portuguese did not expand southwards. The Portuguese remained the dominant Europeans in the region until the arrival of French Catholic missionaries in the 1830's. The missionaries established several churches along the Cunene river where they spread their faith along the coast line.

In 1862 the French explorer Étienne Dubois established the Southern African Colonisation Society which aimed to create a French colony in the Zamwazian region. Initially the traders were centred around Port Lucira, which bordered Portuguese Angola, before moving down south eventually around Toscanini. Portugal at first refused to recognise Dubois claim's to the region, who claimed the territory on behalf of the Napoleon III. Napoleon III created the colony of Counènia (named after the Counène river). The colony was formally recognised by other colonial powers- importantly Germany and Portugal - at the Berlin conference during the Scramble for Africa.

The initial colonialist government focused on making the colony new gains economically viable. Huge diamond, gold and copper mines were constructed as the native people were used for slave labour. The French colonists made deals with local leaders to round up inhabitants of neighbouring tribes and sell them to the colonists (despite slavery being illegal in France) where they were often worked to death in mines. Land was given to French immigrants over the native people. A capital, Napoléonville, was built in 1870 and a railroad connecting the rural interior to the coast was completed in the 1890's. The construction of both was subject to considerable criticism due to the high human costs involved.

During the First World War Counènia was a battleground between French troops and German troops in neighbouring German South West Africa during the South West Africa campaign. During the Second World War following the fall of France the colony's commander-in-chief Paul Legentilhomme declared his support for Free French forces and ousted the Vichy administrators in the territory. Following the war with the promulgation of the French Fourth Republic Counènia was granted autonomy with an elected assembly similar to other French African colonies.

During the 1950's radical independence activists led by Gabriel Ithete began to push for an independent state. Although Ithete, who had been educated in the Soviet Union and had previously represented the colony in the French National Assembly as a member of the French Communist Party favoured rapid independence with majority rule the threat of South African intervention following the imposition of apartheid led to many in Counènia to support some kind of protection from France. Ithete created the United People's Congress-African Democratic Rally (CPU-RDA) which allied with the pan-African Rassemblement Démocratique Africain that existed in French West and Equatorial Africa. In 1957 the CPU-RDA - considered to be primarily supported by the Ovamvbo population - allied with the Herero dominated Confederation of Tribes and Regions (CTR) led by Dr François Kaukuetu with both parties winning a supermajority in the regional assembly that year.

In 1958 Counènia voted in favour of entering the French Community alongside the other French African colonies save Guinea. In 1960 after negotiations with the French government led by Charles de Gaulle the colony formally became independent with Ithete as its inaugural president and Kaukuetu Prime Minister. Ithete subsequently withdrew the newly created Republic of Counènia from the French Community.


Gabriel Ithete

The first Zamwazian president, Gabriel Ithete, in 1964.

The newly independent country soon found itself as a frontline state in the Cold War. French influence in the economy and society was still pervasive, whilst South Africa was determined that the newly independent country on its border did not support pro-Namibian groups in southwest Africa nor anti-apartheid groups in South Africa itself.

The first elections in 1960 saw the CPU-RDA/CTR alliance win all the seats in the National Assembly. However relations between Ithete and Kaukuetu quickly deteriorated - Kaukuetu was close to the French-owned Société Minière de Counènia (SIMCO) that opposed president Ithete's close ties to the Soviet Union and China. As such from 1960-1962 Ithete embraced a relatively conservative course promoting business-friendly policies and remaining aligned to France.

The escalation of the Angolan War of Independence in neighbouring Portuguese Angola against the Portuguese government and communist-backed rebel forces such as the MPLA and the FNLA turned president Ithete much closer to other African liberation leaders. In 1963 Ithete dismissed Kaukuetu as prime minister and ordered all French troops to immediately vacate the country. Ithete subsequently announced that the country would be renamed the Republic of Zamwazia and the capital Napoléonville would be henceforth renamed Oshakati. Ithete also promoted a new economic policy of African socialism that saw the nationalisation of foreign owned business and plans to implement large scale land reform. The most dramatic of these new measures was the nationalisation of SIMCO in 1964, a move that resulted in France cutting off all technical assistance to the nation.

The 1964 elections for the National Assembly saw widespread fraud that saw the CPU-RDA score a decisive victory over the CTR. As a result Ithete began stacking his government with fellow Ovambo people, alienating not just the Herero people but also the more minor Kavango and Xindonga groups. An attempted coup d'état in 1964 saw Ithete's rule become more dictatorial as he began to support the MPLA by allowing them to set up bases on the Angolan-Zamwazian border.

Kaukuetu Mbambo

Dr François Kaukuetu (left) and brigadier-general Jean-Pierre Mbambo (right) following the 1966 coup d'état.

These moves alarmed South Africa who saw Ithete as a dangerous Marxist. South African Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd soon gave covert political support to the CTR and other groups opposing Ithete's government whilst imposing trade sanctions on the country for supporting rebel groups in Angola and Southwest Africa. In 1966 Ithete's government had lost popular support due to increasingly repressive measures, economic slowdown and a perception of Ovambo dominance. In March that year a successful coup d'état by brigadier-general Jean-Pierre Mbambo saw Ithete ousted from office being exiled to Zambia with Kaukuetu being appointed president with South African and French support.

Although Kaukuetu was formally president in reality he held power in a diarchy with Mbambo who came from the Kavango ethnic group but had support from Ovambo's. Kaukuetu dropped support for the MPLA and gave limited support to South Africa against SWAPO rebels in southwest Africa at the start of the South African Border War. Kaukuetu also privatised previous government holdings and restored mining rights for French and South African companies.

By 1968 however South Africa had began to doubt Kaukuetu's ability to restrain SWAPO, MPLA and the newly-formed UNITA forces on the borders. Mbambo and the army also felt isolated as Kaukuetu relied increasingly on his French-trained gendarme force. In May 1968 whilst Kaukuetu was on a trip to Brussels Mbambo launched another coup d'état deposing Kaukuetu, banning the CTR and installing himself as the Chairman of the National Salvation Council (CNS). In 1969 Mbambo inaugurated a new constitution that dissolved the post of prime minister, gave the president sweeping new powers, centralised the provinces and created a one-party state under the National Republican Movement (MRN). Mbambo soon signed a Mutual Friendship and Cooperation Agreement with South Africa which gave the South African Defence Force almost unlimited access to Zamwazia and confirmed the new government anti-liberation movement stance, with the Zamwazian Republican Army (ARZ) being deployed to root out SWAPO, MPLA and UNITA bases. The new Mbambo regime as such became supported by South Africa, Rhodesia, Portugal, the United States and Israel.

Bush War

The new Mbambo government whilst having ample international support soon was seen as little more then a neocolonial outpost by the population. In exile in Zambia former president Ithete denounced the new government and called for Zamwazian citizens to "resist and overthrow the imperialist-imposed Mbambo regime". In 1969 the Organisation for Black Liberation was founded by Ithete which demanded the overthrow of Mbambo and the restoration of an African nationalist government. The OLN soon with the assistance of China and other African liberation movements such as ZANU, SWAPO, the MPLA and their supporters such as Zambia and Tanzania began to launch a guerrilla war against the government. This led to the beginning of the Zamwazian Bush War which spilled over into the Angolan War of Independence and the South African Border War.

OLN fighters

OLN fighters in 1982 during the Zamwazian Bush War.

The bush war was marked by massive violence by both sides with the government relying heavily on the SADF to carry out anti-insurgency operations against OLN and FLD bases, which were mostly based in the rural interior and in Angola. The independence of Angola following the Carnation Revolution and start of the Angolan Civil War convinced president Mbambo that the situation in Zamwazia was untenable and in 1977 approached Ithete for peace talks. This move was opposed by South African Defence Minister P.W. Botha and Mbambo's plane was reportedly shot down on the way to peace talks by FLD rebels, although critics contended that the move was done by South African-aligned UNITA forces in Angola. Mbambo's successor, general Édouard Shikongo, was seen as close to Botha and arrested Ithete as he landed for the peace talks. The military commander of the OLN and Ithete's deputy, Kafundanga Nzinga, pledged to continue the Bush War until the new Shikongo regime was overthrown and SADF troops expelled from Zamwazia.

The bush war intensified in 1981 when the Democratic Liberation Forces (FLD) splintered from the ARZ, ostensibly with French support after president François Mitterrand began to distance Paris from Pretoria. Zamwazia began to receive a large amount of assistance from the United States whilst the OLN often cooperated with Cuban forces deployed in Angola. By the end of the 1980's the OLN and FLD controlled the majority of the country although the Shikongo regime still controlled the capital and other large cities.

In December 1988 as the bush war continued to rage the Zamwazian government signed the Four Powers Accord with South Africa, Angola and Cuba that saw the withdrawal of foreign troops in Zamwazia and Angola as well as the independence of Namibia. During the independence process of Namibia South African State President F. W. de Klerk withdrew all SADF forces from Zamwazia and cut all assistance to the regime despite concerns that the country would quickly fall to insurgent groups. With SWAPO leader Sam Nujoma being sworn in as Namibian president in Windhoek it became clear to Shikongo and the Zamwazian government that the regime would soon be surrounded by states hostile to his government and supportive of the OLN and the FLD. Shikongo's forces collapsed in May 1991 after an Angolan invasion installed a FLD government in Oshakati. The FLD government subsequently began peace talks with the OLN who still professed to support a rival government.

In June 1991 in Lyon the Lyon Accords were signed which saw an interim government appointed that would oversee new elections scheduled for February 1992. The 1992 elections FLD routed by the OLN. OLN leader Kafundanga Nzinga became the first democratically elected president of Zamwazia and subsequently created a unity government with the FLD.

Modern history

Nzinga would oversee a successful period of reconstruction following the civil war. Whilst ideologically a socialist the realities of governing following the collapse of the Soviet Union meant traditional socialist policies of land reform and economic intervention was combined with sound finance and an aggressive push for foreign investment. Nzinga's domineering style however led to the FLD to leave the unity government prior to the 1997 elections which saw Nzinga re-elected.

During his presidency Nzinga supported MPLA forces in Angola against UNITA soldiers. During the Second Congo War Nzinga's government joined allies such as Namibia and Zimbabwe in supporting Laurent-Désiré Kabila's government against Rwandan andUgandan backed rebel forces.

Prior to the 2002 elections Nzinga was able to change the constitution to allow himself to run for a third term. This outraged the country with large scale riots occurring as a result. Although the African Union validated Nzinga's 2002 re-election as being held in a free and fair vote the opposition contested this claim with popular Minister of the Economy Félix Iyamo forming the rival Union for Progress and Development (UPD) against the OLN government.

Due to the controversy over his third term Nzinga promoted a policy of reconciliation from 2002-2007 whilst continuing to benefit from high economic growth and reconstruction measures. In 2007 Nzinga announced he would not contest the president with the OLN candidate losing to Iyamo in the second round of voting, leading to the first peaceful transfer of power in Zamwazia.


Following the 1993 elections Zamwazia has began the transition from single party authoritarian rule into a liberal democracy. The Constitution of Zamwazia labels the country as a secular, democratic nation. Primarily politics take place within a unitary semi-presidential republic with a unicameral legislature. Officially Zamwazia is a multi-party state, with the largest two political parties being the Organisation for Black Liberation and the Rainbow Coalition, an electoral alliance between the Union for Progress and Development and Democratic Liberation Front. The legislature is the National Assembly. Zamwazia has a three tier judicial system that mainly utilises civil law.
  • The head of state is the President of Zamwazia who is also the head of government and the commander-in-chief of the military with the power to declare war, approve and ratify laws, and give pardons. The President is responsible for appointing a prime minister who is tasked with putting together the Cabinet of Zamwazia, a cabinet of ministers who can command the confidence of the National Assembly. The Cabinet is responsible for running the majority of government operations in Zamwazia. The president is elected every five years in a two-round system. The current president is Mzee Mpingana and the prime minister Valérie Kapere, both members of the OLN.
  • The legislative body of Zamwazia is the National Assembly. The National Assembly are elected every four years in general elections through a two-round voting system with universal adult suffrage. The party or coalition that has the most seats in the National Assembly forms the official government of Zamwazia. There are 138 seats in the National Assembly.
  • The Judicature of Zamwazia mainly consists of a system based around civil system as well as using a three tier court system. The High Court of Zamwazia functions as the supreme court and is led by the Chief Justice, a position appointed by the senate and approved by the president. Below the High Court stands the District Courts, which are located in the seven districts of Zamwazia. Finally there are the magistrate courts of Zamwazia which are subdivided into civilian and criminal courts, and are located in most towns and cities in Zamwazia.


Zamwazia armed forces are split into four divisions - the Army, Airforce, Navy and Coastal Guard, all of which answer to the Central Military Committee, a group of high ranking officers who in turn are subordinate to the Ministry of Defence, with the president serving as Commander-in-Chief.

The current Zamwazia military has mainly be deployed on the Zamwazian-Angolan boarder, with periodic fighting taking place. Until 2006 Zamwazia retained troops in the Democratic Republic of Congo, although following the end of the Second Congo War they have begun to pull troops out of the country as the Congolese government started to handle the Kivu conflict. Zamwazian military forces were previously involved in the Namibian War for Independence, the Portuguese Colonial War, Angolan Civil War, First Congo War and Rhodesian Bush War.

Cunenia currently spends 3.6% of its GDP on defence, and has committed to increase spending in the military over the next four years. The majority of its equipment comes from China, SOuth Africa and France.

Foreign Policy

Cunenian foreign policy is handled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with Manuele d'Olmo serving as the current Foreign Minister. From 1967 to 1994 Cunenia was noted for its hardline anti-apartheid stance, being supportive of Zambia and Tanzania whilst critical of South Africa, Rhodesia and Estado Novo regime. Cunenia openly supported African nationalist movements such as the ANC, FRELIMO, MPLA, SWAPO and the ZANU. Since 1994 Cunenia has held strong relations with South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique and most controversially Zimbabwe. During the Angolan Civil War Cunenia initially supported MPLA before diverting aid to UNITA instead. As such relations with Angola remain frosty, although efforts to repair relations have been undertaken. Cunenia also supported the government of Zaire during the First Congo War, but during the Second Congo War supported the Congolese government. Cunenia maintains strong political, economic and cultural links to Italy, who is a key ally to Cunenia.

Currently Meskheti is part of various international organisations such as the United Nations, African Union, SADC, WTO, Group of 77, AfDB, ZPCAS, COMESA IMF and the Non-Aligned Movement. In 2013 Cunenian Prime Minister Giorgio Macciocchi suggested the creation of an "Italian language Union" with Cunenia, Italy, San Marino and Switzerland.





Ethnic groups




See also

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