WINDHOEK - The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) has attributed the recent by-elections poor turnout on multiple factors, including the timing of the elections, which coincided with the opening of the new academic year.
The fact that 15 January was not declared a public holiday also affected the voter turnout, the ECN said.
The ECN was responding to claims by the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), who blamed the electoral body for the pathetic voter turnout during the recently held by-elections in Walvis Bay, Keetmanshoop, Gobabis and Windhoek.
Mujoro defended the ECN, saying they carried out an effective voter education campaign prior to the conduct of the four by-elections.
“Our view is that a combination of factors could be attributed to the record of low voter turnout experienced. Firstly, it was the day of opening of schools for the new year; secondly, it was not a public holiday as was the case during the national elections,” he said. “It should be noted that historically, voter apathy has been a recurring characteristic during by-elections, regional and local authorities’ election.”
Mujoro urged all stakeholders to join hands in changing public perceptions around the regional and local authority elections in order to increase voter participation.
“Voter fatigue could be another factor, considering that Namibians went to the polls less than two months ago,” Mujoro added.
The PDM last week blamed the ECN for not carrying out an effective voter education campaign.
“We noted with great concern the low turnout during the last by-elections and this was due to insufficient voter education by the ECN to ensure all constituencies’ men and women alike understand their rights in their political system,” said party’s secretary general Manuel Ngaringombe.
In Gobabis, Augustinus Tebele of Swapo was unanimously voted in, while the ruling party also retained Khomasdal after the majority of the voters gave Samuel Angolo the nod.
At Walvis Bay, independent candidate Knowledge Ipinge was the victor, while in Keetmanshoop, Maxie Minnaar of the Landless People’s Movement was elected.
2020-01-28 08:32:29 | 30 days ago