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Oh, hug a Geingob!… As RDP lose official opposition status to DTA

2014-12-02  Mathias Haufiku

Oh, hug a Geingob!… As RDP lose official opposition status to DTA
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WINDHOEK - The ruling party Swapo and its presidential candidate Dr Hage Geingob last night created new electoral records, after mercilessly whipping their opponents – albeit democratically – in the just ended elections. For the first time since the first democratic elections in 1989, Swapo reached the 80 percent mark in the vote for the National Assembly, while Geingob created his own history by accumulating 86.7 percent, the highest ever attained by a Namibian presidential candidate. The DTA, under the energetic leadership of McHenry Venaani, came second with a mere 4.8 percent of the vote. DTA eclipsed the Rally for Democracy (RDP), dubbed the biggest loser in this election, after the former official opposition only managed a paltry 3.51 percent of the national vote. It was an election of shocking proportions, with Swapo taking 77 seats in the National Assembly, leaving 15 opposition parties to – like eagles on a hare – scramble for the remaining 19 seats in the 96-seat chamber. DTA took five of those seats, followed by RDP with three seats. But the surprise package of this election, the Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP) shocked all and sundry when it won two seats from virtually nowhere. Until last night, many Namibians were still asking questions about who WRP are, after the hugely unknown formation defeated the likes of RDP even in Okongo, which is traditionally a home turf of the dislodged former official opposition. The 893 643 Namibians who voted in the National Assembly elections became the first people to cast their votes electronically in Africa during national elections. Disappointingly though, 350 456 of the total 1 241 194 registered voters did not cast their votes in the presidential elections while for the National Assembly, 347 551 voters did not vote. Many sections of the country were not happy with the newly-introduced one-day polls as they felt the time was not enough for all registered voters to cast their votes. Others also blamed faulty debutant electronic voting machines (EVMs) as another of the factors that delayed the voting process and in the end deterring voters to stand in long queues. Each party had to score at least 9 308 votes to qualify for a seat in the National Assembly, the ECN announced yesterday. The ECN announced that Swapo got 715 096 of the total 893 643 votes. “I have the honour to and privilege to declare Dr Hage Geingob who has accumulated a total of 772 528 votes in the presidential race, duly elected as President with effect from such a date as determined by the Namibian Constitution. Congratulations, Sir,” announced ECN chairperson, Advocate Notemba Tjipueja when she released the results last night. After Tjipueja declared the results, President Hifikepunye Pohamba, the outgoing Head of State, urged Namibians to respect and honour the results. “I urge all our people to respect and honour the voice of our people. The nation has spoken. Let us now join hands and put shoulders to the wheel to develop our country, improve the living conditions of our people and take Namibia to greater heights of prosperity,” urged Pohamba, who is expected to hand over the presidency to Geingob on March 21 2015. “The people have spoken. Democracy is alive and healthy in Namibia. Our country now has a president-elect and members of parliament-elect, who await to be sworn in to serve our people.” When he took the floor, Geingob said his victory is the will of God and thanked Namibians for electing him to lead the country. “It is proper that you, the people of Namibia, came out in numbers and thought that I should take over,” the calm and collected winner said. “When I look at the numbers of those who attended our rallies, I got worried because what I have deduced is that I have a heavy responsibility that I cannot alone play out. Therefore I will count on you, Mr President, and the guys I terribly defeated.” “Let us hold hands because I will be a president for all Namibians. No Namibian must feel left out,” said Geingob. DTA’s Venaani also took the floor and said democracy remains incomplete without losers. “Leaders must always stand firm when they fall on the battle ground. We ran the most difficult campaigns in many years but we managed to resuscitate our party. Dr Geingob has run a good race, but Africa must also tell the story that … we must become bigger friends in defeat to build our country,” he said. Venaani, looking in the direction of Geingob, vowed to keep Geingob and his government on their toes by holding them accountable as well as coming up with new ideas. After delivering his brief statement, Venaani invited Geingob to the stage for a picture as a symbol of unity despite the fact that they both contested to succeed Pohamba. Namibia currently has nine political parties in the National Assembly but after this election only seven parties are heading to the country’s sixth parliament. All People’s Party (APP), Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP), Nudo and the United Democratic Front (UDF) all secured two seats while the Republican Party, Swanu and United People’s Movement (UPM) all obtained a single seat each. Unless an alliance is formed between other opposition parties, the DTA is the new official opposition party after coming second. The party, an official opposition between 1989 and 1999, obtained 42 933 votes that translated into five seats. DTA won 21 seats in the 1989 election. RDP’s dismal performance saw its parliamentary stake decreasing from eight seats to three. Nudo, which has admitted it did not recover from the death of its veteran leader, Chief Kuaima Riruako, maintained its two seats. New kids of the block Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters (NEFF), Christian Democratic Voice Party (CDVP) as well as veteran campaigners Congress of Democrats (CoD), National Democratic Party (NDP) and Democratic Party of Namibia (DPN) all did not win any seats. Last Friday’s elections were held in limbo at the eleventh hour when the RDP and WRP went to the High Court to demand that the elections be postponed because of concerns over EVMs. The matter was dismissed by the court. By Mathias Haufiku
2014-12-02  Mathias Haufiku

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