By Surihe Gaomas NKURENKURU For the first time in the history of opposition politics the Republican Party (RP) made its presence felt amongst its supporters by holding its star rally last Saturday at the newly proclaimed town of Nkurenkuru in the Kavango Region. Historically, the area where the newly proclaimed town is located is known as a SWAPO Party stronghold. In view of this, RP strategists felt the need to challenge Swapo in its own backyard. The new town has a population of 12 000 people. Addressing close to a hundred RP supporters on the edge of the Kavango River, Vice-President of the party Geoffrey Chilinda said he was concerned by the apparent ” non-performance of political parties” in the country. He said the RP will not be affected by this and will continuously mobolise its supporters for change in the country and in this case at Nkurenkuru. “Namibia needs new leadership. We are not here for opposition but steering and directing the government of the day. Give us that opportunity and we will show you new development,” said Chilinda, urging the party members to vote for the RP this coming Friday when the local authority election day starts in earnest. Although not a new issue voter apathy still remains another major challenge for political parties. Chilinda said that once elected to power to run the administration of Nkurenkuru through its seven political candidates, the RP would bring about development in areas that the current government has not achieved over the past 17 years. “We have brought in another chapter, which is all inclusive. Therefore, you have the right to vote for your party, the RP. Don’t allow yourself to be intimidated or threatened. You are going to be sole shareholders in this party,” he added. Introducing the candidates to the crowd, Chilinda said that people should not fear them as they are the leaders they will elect into power to run the affairs of the town. The seven selected candidates aree in their 20’s, a sign of what the RP Party states is bringing in new blood for change. “On Friday the 23rd I expect each and everyone of you who are eligible to vote to immediately go to the polling stations and vote for RP,” he added. “Don’t delay, if you give SWAPO another chance, they will delay you for another 17 years,” stressed Chilinda to the attentive crowd of mostly young people. The much talked about Nkurenkuru-Rundu road was also considered by the RP as a failure by the current government to complete upgrading the road. “The SWAPO policy is very autocratic and failed this nation tremendously. Where is the Nkurenkuru-Rundu road they were talking about – how long must you wait? Rather vote for RP,” he said. Chilinda urged his supporters to go out in their numbers to vote for the RP Party as it promises to bring a change for the better. The RP Party’s candidates are Reino Simbungu, Raimo Hausiku, Maria Kapumburu, Joseph Sitanga, Regina Marungu, Petrus Pontalia and Magdalena Siteka. Meanwhile, authorities of the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) who are overseeing the upcoming local authority elections informed New Era that the campaigns for the various political parties are going well. “In general, it will be a well contested election and all the polling officials have been trained and are ready for voting day and the various polling stations,” said Nico Mingelius, Head of Information Technology at ECN. For the first time in the country ECN plans to carry out a more coordinated based network called Vetro Private Network (VPN). This means that all the votes will be administered from one central office in Nkurenkuru. “Votes will be verified. The network also records the polling points, time and the name of the polling official. The system is done in such a way that it refuses double votes. This is done to avoid this time allegations of cheating and further misconceptions,” explained Mingelius, adding that it would take 45 seconds to verify each voter at the polling stations through the system. As part of its efforts to improve the electoral process, ECN is equipped with UPS generators and manual voters’ registration in case of an electricity black-out.
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