Swapo launches its bid for Otjinene

OTJINENE; The Swapo-Party on Saturday launched its campaign for the Otjinene local authority elections, which is expected to elect a town council for the newly proclaimed town of Otjinene.

Swapo made no secret of the fact that it intends to take Otjinene from the National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo), which has won every election in the constituency since Independence in 1990.

The party roped in the Prime Minister, Dr Hage Geingob, who also serves as Swapo Vice-President, to deliver the keynote address on the day, while most of the party’s national leadership assigned to the Omaheke Region was in attendance at the rally.

Geingob is no stranger to speaking at Otjinene, having addressed party supporters and sympathisers on two previous occasions in less than a year at the town before Saturday.

Those in attendance at the rally appeared to appreciate the fact that the party has designated a top leader in Geingob to address them. Close to 300 people attended the rally.

While it mostly focused on the upcoming local authority elections in Otjinene, it was also clear that Swapo was using the newly launched campaign to garner support for National Assembly and Presidential Elections scheduled to take place in November this year.

Geingob is the ruling party’s presidential candidate for the November elections, and is highly tipped to win the presidential race given the party’s support base in past elections.

Conforming to its adopted zebra-style policy of 50-50 gender representation in its structures, Swapo elected three women on the list of five party representatives to contest the local authority elections.

The three are Nono Katjingisiua, Batseba Kaihiva and Diana Kakwara, while Asaria Tjingaete and Joshua Kahikuata are the only two males on the list.

Kakwara is from the previously disadvantaged San community.

Nampa has learned that three political parties – the Swapo-Party; DTA of Namibia and Nudo have registered to take part in the local authority elections scheduled to take place towards the end of August.

Each party is expected to field five candidates to head Otjinene’s first town council, following the upgrading of Otjinene from village to town status.

Otjinene is the main economic centre in the Omaheke Region’s constituency bearing the same name.

The election was necessitated by Government’s decision to change the statuses of Otjinene and Oranjemund from settlements to towns.

If previous elections in Otjinene are anything to go by, the main battle for dominance is set to be between the Nudo and Swapo parties, both of which have shown political muscle here.

While Nudo has turned Otjinene into its own fortress by winning past elections in the constituency, Swapo has given the party a good run for its money – coming a narrow second in many elections.

The Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) and Swanu of Namibia – prominent participants in elections here – appear to be missing out on a chance to be represented on the new town council.

The two parties are yet to register to take part in the upcoming local authority elections.

The RDP had a good run in neighbouring Epukiro shortly after its formation, but has seen its luck running out in the Omaheke Region.

Swanu, on the other hand, lost control over the Otjombinde Constituency – the only constituency in the Omaheke Region which it dominated, rendering it a weak contender in other constituencies.