Slow Start to Swakopmund By-Election

THE Swakopmund by-elections started slowly this morning but Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) officials are confident that the approximately 26 000 registered voters will have voted for their preferred candidate by the time the polls close tonight at 21h00.

There are 20 fixed polling stations – eight more than the usual amount – to speed-up the process and ensure shorter queues that are more convenient for the electorate, according to ECN Director Prof Paul Isaak. There are also two mobile stations that will be used mostly at the Swakopmund small holdings.

All four candidates contending in the by-elections are confident that they have won the confidence of the people. They are Juuso Kambueshe (Swapo), Marius !Uwu-Gaeb (UDF), Uahimisa Kaapehi (Nudo) and Magrietha Hochobes (DTA). All are hoping to fill the seat of late Germina Shitaleni who passed away recently of cancer.

Erongo governor Cleophas Mutjavikua, who was the first person to vote at Meduletu, said: “A by-election is no small thing, even if it is only a few months from the local and regional authority elections. It is very important because it is part of Namibia’s democratic process, which we must keep alive”.

According to some of the early-bird voters who made sure they would cast their vote before their work day started, they are hoping that the new councillor will take their pleas for land and services more seriously and will be involved with the communities they serve.

“This is important to me. I know it’s only one vote, but I know my vote will count,” said Anna Hendrik.

“I vote because I live here and I want to make sure that I have the right leader to serve me,” said Paulus Salomon, who was first in line – although he had to wait for officials to cast their votes first.

Source : The Namibian