Out with the old, in with the new

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Festus Nakatana 

WINDHOEK – A split in Swapo has seen the party overwhelmingly win in parliamentary elections, but did not retain the two-thirds majority it won with ease in 2014. Despite getting more votes than its presidential candidate, Swapo lost a massive 14 seats in last week’s National Assembly election, to fall just short of two-thirds majority after obtaining 63 seats. The outcome also means that several deputy ministers such as Anna Shiweda of agriculture, Maureen Hinda (home affairs), Veikko Nekundi (public enterprises) and Becky-Ndjoze Ojo (higher education) will not make it back to parliament this time around and as members with voting rights. 

Current Swapo chief whip in the National Assembly, Evelyn Nawases-Tayele, who is number 68 on the party list, did also not make it. In 2014, Swapo won 77 seats in the National Assembly with 715 026 votes, representing 80 percent of the total vote. It will, however, be interesting to see whom the president appoints as part of his eight non-voting members to the National Assembly. 

Biggest winners
The Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) appeared to have profited handsomely from the Swapo protest votes after the party more than doubled from five to 16 seats, while the Landless People’s Movement (LPM) obtained four seats in their maiden parliamentary election. PDM received an overwhelming 136 576 votes, representing 16.6 percent of the total vote, while LPM obtained 38 956 votes. In 2014, the PDM then under the banner of DTA had only obtained 42 933 seats in the National Assembly election.  

The National Assembly election has therefore marked one of the biggest reboots in the history of Namibia’s legislature since the country gained independence in 1990. For the first time ever, MPs as young as 23 years old will be part of the new parliament. This includes 23-year-old Utaara Mootu, who is also the LPM national chairperson, Ina Hengari and Maximilian Katjimune both of PDM. “Although we were robbed during elections, we don’t agree with its outcomes, we are impressed by Utaara Mootu, a 23-year-old girl who made it straight from a Unam class to parliament. I am sure Job Amupanda, Roseline Nawases, Connie Louw, Professor Lesley Blaauw, Erica Thomas and Phanuel Kaapama would be very happy for her,” said Henny Seibeb, the LPM deputy chief leader, who is also joining party leader Bernadus Swartbooi in the National Assembly. Winnie Moongo, daughter of the late then DTA leader, Phillemon Moongo, has also made the cut. “I will serve as the voice of the voiceless and fight for tangible positive change,” said the 31-year-old Moongo. PDM Ohangwena coordinator Hidipo Hamata is also expected to be a member of the August house. Two parties will also be represented for the first time in parliament, while the Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP) will not be returning this time around. The Namibian Economic Freedom Fighters (NEFF) secured two seats after getting 13 580 votes, while the Christian Democratic Voice Party (CDVP) will also make their parliamentary debut having obtained one seat. The once vibrant Congress of Democrats (CoD) suffered yet another poll blow and will remain out of parliament, while the WRP did not secure enough votes to return. Nudo got two seats, while Republican Party also secured two seats. The All People’s Party, despite receiving fewer votes, still retained its two seats in the August house. The deeply divided Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) also struggled to make an impact and lost two of its three seats in the National Assembly. Swanu also got one seat.