ONDANGWA – Swapo candidate for the Ondangwa Urban by-election Leonard Negonga on Saturday cruised to victory when he scooped more than half of the votes cast.
Negonga took 1936 of 3792 of the total votes cast, followed by 27-year-old independent candidate Angelina Immanuel at 1402 votes. Other candidates who took part in the by-election include PDM’s Johannes Martin with 326 votes, APP’s Asser Vincent with 97 votes and CoD’s Mandume Andreas with 31 votes.
A massive voter apathy characterised the by-election, with only 3792 voters casting their votes, despite a high registration of 16 000 voters in the whole constituency.
The results were announced by the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN)’s Returning Officer Rauna Nkandi after midnight.
After a short celebration outside the Ondangwa Trade Fair Centre from where the results were announced, Negonga’s supporters flocked to his Ondangwa Town Lodge where he waited for the election outcome. There, the supporters danced and sang songs of victory.
Negonga was overwhelmed by joy and could not express himself when he was approached for comment, moments after the outcome was announced. Supporters of Immanuel, who also waited at the Trade Fair Centre, already started to celebrate the results as they trickled in from the various polling stations. This was partially because she earned the highest votes from some centres. But even after final results were announced, Immanuel’s supporters continued celebrating what they deemed a huge political victory for the independent candidate who dared to stand in the face of massive adversity.
Overall, there was a low turnout at 121 polling stations. Voting started at 07h00 am on Saturday. There were no much queues observed at the polling stations.
By midday, only a paltry 1377 voters had cast their votes. The number grew in leaps and bounds, by the lethargic standards of this election, with 3300 votes cast by 18h00.
A vendor at the town said many of them could not participate in the elections because they only came to Ondangwa from elsewhere to make a living. Although many have lived in the town for years, they argued that they were not informed about the registration hence they only possessed voter’s cards from the constituencies where they originally hailed from - issued during the 2014 national and presidential elections.
“We were not aware of the registration process at Ondangwa and we thought we could just use any voter’s card,” said a vendor who only identified herself as Johanna.
At the Oluno Correctional Facility, where a mobile polling station was set up, an inmate in the corridor chanted that councillors only get to know of the offenders’ existence when it is election time.
The inmate further said he was not interested to vote for “corrupt politicians”.
Although the process to get inmates to the polling in one of the halls at the facility is quite cumbersome, about 20 inmates had cast their votes by midday already.
Other residents said they did not get to the polling stations because of the cold weather, but were roaming around their locations.
The by-election was necessitated by the appointment of previous councillor Elia Irimari as governor of Oshana Region by President Hage Geingob.
2019-06-17 10:45:30 3 months ago