KATIMA MULILO - The ruling Swapo Party easily retained its seat by thoroughly thrashing three rival parties that contested the by-election in the Sibbinda Constituency.
As widely expected, Swapo Party candidate Ignatius Chunga Chunga easily won the by-election and will now replace the late Felix Mukupi.
The counting and verification process, which started on Friday immediately after polls closed at 21h00, ended on Saturday morning at around 3am.
The results were eagerly awaited by party members present in the Sikosinyana Secondary School’s main hall where the counting took place. The Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) fielded its youth leader Assens Malumbano, while the Congress of Democrats (CoD) fielded Alfred Namayabona Chilinda and the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA) that only a few years ago held sway in many parts of the Caprivi Region, was reprented by Alexius Mibonda.
After the presiding officers had initially announced the results in from the various polling stations, both fixed and mobile, it was the returning officer for the Sibbinda Constituency, Alfred Mbukusa’s turn to make known the final results that had kept people waiting anxiously. Members and supporters of the contesting parties waited to hear their candidate’s fate.
Chunga of Swapo raked in 1 467 votes, followed by Malumbano of the RDP who managed 801 votes and Chilinda of the CoD, who was a distant third with 232 votes.
Mibonda of the DTA was the whipping boy among the lot as he only managed a paltry 121 votes.
Director of Elections Moses Ndjarakana and Theo Mujoro of the registration and planning department of the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) were on hand to verify the results. Chunga of Swapo was declared the winner and will now replace Mukupi whose death in a road accident necessitted Friday’s hotly-contested by-election.
Voting points included 11 fixed polling stations and five mobile teams.
Party agents were seen in polling stations and at the main hall during the verification and announcement of the election results.
No incidents of violence during the election were reported and the election was hailed as peaceful with a major presence of police as they maintained order.
The din of celebrations were heard shortly after the announcement of results, with loud music playing from the many vehicles that flocked to Sibbinda to await the announcement of a victor.
A large gathering of Swapo Party supporters were seen in a jolly mood, chanting and dancing with clenched fists in the air as they celebrated Chunga’s victory. Chunga also joined the celebrating Swapo Party cadres.
As per law, candidates who contested the election were not visible anywhere near the main hall at Sikosinyana Secondary School during the verification process and the announcement of results.
Celebratory gunfire could also be heard at Katima Mulilo a few hours after Chunga’s victory coupled with the sounds of the horns of vehicles and the chants of supporters in the streets in the early hours of Saturday.
Alberthina Nangolo, a commissioner of the ECN was happy with the manner in which the election was conducted. “We are grateful to everybody who contributed to the success of the Sibbinda Constituency by-election.
“This could not have been possible without our stakeholders, who are the voters, party agents, election officials and the various political parties that participated. We would like to congratulate Ignatius Chunga on his victory. We would also like to thank our police and law enforcement agencies who maintained law and order throughout the election,” said Nangolo.
Caprivi Governor Lawrence Sampofu who stayed late at the main hall to hear the final results, was also happy that the election went well without any impediment. “I am happy, the election went very well. All party agents were here. We are happy that we now have a new councillor for the Sibbinda Constituency,” said Sampofu.
The Sibbinda Constituency by-election was necessitated by the tragic death of former Swapo Party councillor Felix Mukupi in June this year.
The electoral law requires vacancies to be filled within a period of 90 days. The total number of eligible voters registered were 6 248, but only 2 621 voted with 14 rejected votes suggesting a low voter turnout of below 50 percent.