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The battle for Walvis… residents share their expectations

2020-01-08  Eveline de Klerk

The battle for Walvis… residents share their expectations

WALVIS BAY - The battle for the control of Walvis Bay Urban is heating up ahead of next week’s much-anticipated by-election, which will see two independent candidates and a Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) contestant all hoping to end Swapo’s dominance at the harbour town. 

In the 2015 regional authority elections, Swapo candidate Hafeni Ndemula cruised to victory having won 85 percent of the vote after defeating then DTA of Namibia’s Clementia Hababeb and John Jansen of the Rally for Democracy and Progress who received 462 and 192 votes respectively. 

Ndemula, who is now headed to the National Assembly in March this year, easily won the contest after receiving 3 719 votes.

However, the ruling party, which has been beset by a number of challenges, including dwindling support during the past general election, is facing a daunting task to replicate the performance of 2015. 

The emergence of two independent candidates in the form of Knowledge Ipinge and Kennedy Iilonga as well as PDM’s Richard Hoaseb will not make things any better for Swapo and its candidate Sirie Topulathana. All contestants have been ramping up their campaigns in the town to win votes ahead of the 15 January polls.

Residents of the Walvis Bay Urban told New Era the time has come for a true leader to head the constituency. They want, among others, a vibrant leader that can look after the interests of young people, elderly and the most vulnerable members of the community. Marichen Gomachas (47) who operates a small street shop in Kuisebmond explained to New Era the community is yearning for leaders who can be held accountable for their actions, especially if they make empty promises during their campaigns. “So often people come and tell us what they will do for the community but leave without fulfilling any of those promises,” she explained. Former mayor of Walvis Bay King Mandume Muatunga also said apart from being a good leader, the person taking over must have a great connection with the people at grassroots level. “The successful candidate must be humble yet firm and be able to listen to everyone. The person must also be able to unify the community and make sure that he/she addresses the plight of the people to the best of his or her ability,” Muatunga explained.  Walvis Bay entrepreneur Nghidipo Hangula said the constituency needs a leader that can identify and transform the town’s unique qualities in business opportunities, thereby creating job opportunities for the unemployed residents.

“The incoming should be open-minded and focused on community development, while being transparent at the same time.  A person all residents can relate to regardless of political affiliation and should have the well-being of the community at heart,” he said. However, Sharol Titus is of the opinion that a young leader should be chosen to head the position.   “Although I am not that much into politics, I believe that it is time for the younger generation to be more involved and be elected into power, as we will be taking over soon, ” Titus said. She added fresh ideas and minds are needed to address social issues such as unemployment, alcohol and drug abuse and gender-based violence among residents in Walvis Bay. “Most of these social evils affect young people, hence we need a leader that can relate to us but also at the same time address the plight our elderly and community at large faces,” she said.

2020-01-08  Eveline de Klerk

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