Ohangwena Turnout Improves

THE Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) director of elections, Nic Kruger, said he was impressed by the voter turnout in the just-ended Ohangwena constituency by-election.

Swapo candidate Johannes Hakanyome won the by-election with 5 827 votes, while the RDP candidate, Vilho Shimooshili, got 945.

This year, 6 772 people cast their vote as compared to 5 754 in 2010 when Swapo won with 4 951 votes, and RDP had 782. There were 11 034 eligible voters in 2010, when the voter turnout was 53,2%. This year, 11 322 people were registered as eligible voters.

In 2010 Swapo had 86% of the votes and RDP 13,6%, while this year Swapo again took 86% while RDP got 13,96%.

“This year’s results show that a lot still needs to be done but I think the voter turnout was more than 60% this year,” because many people were so happy to set their hands on the new electronic voting machines,” said Kruger.

The Director of Elections of the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN), Paul Isaak, said many senior citizens were excited with the use of the electronic voting machines (EVMs).

“We have not received any complaint regarding the use of the EVMs because most of the voters that we spoke to were so happy with them,” said Isaak.

Loide Petrus, a resident of Omhedi village in Ohangwena constituency, was overjoyed with the use of the EVMs, saying: “I am so happy with these new machines because they are so fast and easy to use, even to us, the elderly.”

All the polling stations in the constituency closed at exactly 21h00 on Tuesday night but when The Namibian visited most of the polling stations after the closing hour, many voters, mainly young people, who came after the closing hour were turned away.

A registered voter, who declined to be named, expressed his disappointment after he was turned away. “I am so disappointed, I wanted to vote for my candidate but then I could not make it on time because I knocked off late from work.”

The counting process started at about 00h30 at the Ohangwena constituency offices and the results were announced by the ECN returning officer, Lisias Haiduwa, at about 01h30.

The counting process and the announcement of the results was done in full view of all the political party representatives, ECN officials, Ohangwena regional councillors and the police.

After Hakanyome was declared the winner, his supporters took to the streets singing Swapo party songs, while many of them celebrated until the early hours of Wednesday.

Josephina Angula, a Swapo Party supporter said that she was happy with the result as she expected Swapo to be the winner.

RDP leader Libolly Haufiku told the media that he was disappointed with the outcome of the election because they did not get the expected results.

He also said that the RDP party agents at most of the polling stations have observed incidences of misconduct during the election, whereby some people were assisting more than three people to cast their votes.

“I am not happy with this thing of assisting people at the polling stations because many of those that were assisting the elderly and the illiterate were influencing the voters to vote for Swapo. We have reported the matter to the ECN and we hope to receive a positive outcome from them. We know what we are talking about. We are not saying things out of the blue,” he stressed.

Hakanyome was sworn in as councillor for the Ohanwena constituency yesterday.

Kruger said RDP will launch its campaign for the Presidential and National Assembly elections within the next seven days.

Source : The Namibian