WINDHOEK – Swapo was yesterday racing against time to have its candidate for the upcoming Otjiwarongo constituency by-election registered before today’s deadline.
The jostling by Swapo members for positions has reportedly led to the confusion at Otjiwarongo.
The by-election, which is necessitated by the death of councillor Julius Neumbo, will take place on 9 March this year, while the deadline to submit candidates to the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) is today at 16h00. Otjozondjupa Swapo coordinator Susan Hikopua confirmed both the ruling party’s secretary general office and the local district executive committee submitted names of potential candidates.
Swapo SG Sophia Shaningwa on Monday forwarded four names of candidates to Hikopua, who, according to her, were vetted and cleared as nominees for candidature at the district conference. The four included current Otjiwarongo mayor Bennes Haimbondi, Hilda Jesaya, Paul /Gaogoseb and Marlyn Mbakera.
However, Hikopua yesterday told New Era that the names forwarded to her by Shaningwa were totally different to those submitted to her by the district executive committee last week Wednesday.
She said the district executive committee submitted Godhard Hoko, Gottlieb Shivute, Magano Johannes and Theresia Kukenge as potential nominees for the by-election candidature.
“This is a bit of confusion at the moment; the names forwarded to me by Shaningwa are totally different from what was submitted by the district executive committee,” Hikopua said yesterday.
“We are waiting for the leaders assigned to the region who are travelling from Windhoek and the issue will soon be solved.” Efforts to reach Shaningwa proved futile as her phone went unanswered yesterday.
An independent candidate and a member of the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) have registered with ECN to contest for the Otjiwarongo by-election.
Nearly 22 000 inhabitants of the Otjiwarongo constituency are registered and eligible to cast their votes in the March by-election. ECN Otjiwarongo supplementary registration supervisor Jafet Karamata told Nampa last week that 21 835 residents are expected to vote.
Karamata said the voters’ register with information of all registered voters in the constituency was displayed on Monday.
“We displayed it at different points around the constituency to allow all illegible and registered voters to correct their personal details on the roll, object to the names appearing on the roll twice or inform us of the names of any deceased persons that might appear on the roll,” he said.
Karamata explained that this verification process has been completed, adding that as from 14 to 29 January this year, all political parties and individuals interested in contesting the by-election will be required to submit their names to the electoral commission.
Mix-up… Otjozondjupa Swapo coordinator Susan Hikopua.