By Kuvee Kangueehi
Election fever reached high pitch yesterday here as various political parties concluded their campaigns for the Rundu Rural West by-election, which is expected to start this morning.
Political heavyweights from the different political parties flew in and out of Rundu over the last weeks to ensure that their party candidates win the contest today.
The Swapo Party’s most influential member and crowd puller, former party president, Sam Nujoma, on Sunday held a public rally in the constituency while a number of Cabinet ministers have been stationed in Rundu during the last few weeks to support their candidate Rosa Kavara.
The Congress of Democrats (CoD), which is trying to revitalise itself following a disastrous 2007, has also sent a powerful delegation led by its president, Ben Ulenga. The CoD delegation has been stationed in Rundu since December 20 and spent Christmas and New Year’s Eve here. The official opposition party has been very visible during the last few days moving around with a convoy of five cars with placards displaying their candidate Matthias Munango.
The Republican Party (RP), which obtained the second
highest votes following Swapo at the by-election in Nkurenkuru last year in the same region, is trying to build on that achievement. The RP has engaged a lot of people at the grassroots, handing out free T-shirts and has been travelling to all the small villages around Rundu. The party president, Henk Mudge, also held a public rally on Sunday and RP’s
presence can clearly be felt.
The DTA of Namibia and Nudo are also trying to make their presence felt but their impact appears to be minimal. Both parties also had their presidents – Katuutire Kaura of DTA and Chief Kuaima Riruako of Nudo – in the region.
New Era also briefly spoke to the various candidates to find out who they are:
Fifty-year-old Rosa Kavara is a teacher by profession and was born in the Kapako Constituency in the Okavango Region. She is a qualified teacher with a diploma in education as well as an honours degree in education.
She joined the Swapo Party in 1976 and served the party in various capacities at regional level from 1981 to 1991. She was a member of the Swapo Party Women’s Council (SPWC) Central Committee from 1996 to 1999. She was again elected to SPWC CC at the SPWC Congress held in Rundu in 2006 and thus is currently a serving CC member.
Kavara said if elected, she would like to strengthen peace and unity among the people of her constituency and implement the Swapo Party manifesto.
“If elected, I will hold regular consultative meetings with the residents to listen to their grievances and to plan the future with them.”
DTA of Namibia
Kudumo is a bank clerk and teacher, who has lived all his life in Rundu. The 40-year-old completed his Grade 12 in 1980 at Rundu and joined the then Barclays Bank at the town as a bank clerk.
After eight years with the bank, he resigned and became a teacher and taught at three different schools before he quit teaching to go into private business. He owns a business which cuts and sells thatched roofs.
Kudumo grew up in a DTA household and joined the party in 1978. He contested the councillor position in 1994 and lost to Herbert Shixwameni who resigned last year after quitting the Swapo Party.
Kudumo is optimistic that he can win this time and says he will provide tractors to the residents to work on their fields if he wins.
“I will urge the Government to improve the roads and to create employment as many people in the area are unemployed and poor.”
The 24-year-old Nudo candidate is a Grade 10 dropout who is currently unemployed and living in one of the poorest areas of Rundu. However, Sitaremi says she is serious and wants to win the contest and will bring genuine development to people in the region.
Sitaremi says she will bring dustbins, electricity and water to many of the residents of the Rundu Rural West Constituency as most of them live in poverty.
“I would also like to provide training opportunities to people who fail to complete their high school as currently there is no future for them.”
Munango was born on March 7, 1971 in Rundu in the Kavango Region. He completed his Grade 12 at the town in 1996 and was the vice chairperson of the Student Representative Council (SRC).
He joined the National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) as a trainee on September 15, 1997 in Windhoek. In 1997, he was transferred to Rundu as the NSHR representative until September 2003 when he parted ways with NSHR on a sour note. Munango had a legal battle with the NSHR director Phil ya Nangoloh.
Munango joined the CoD in 2003 and worked closely with the CoD regional office. He assisted with mobilising and organising the youth. He said his first assignment if elected is to ensure that people in the area are able to obtain identification documents.
“Many people here only have their voter’s cards and no ID and thus cannot get most of the services there are entitled to.”
New Era could not find the RP candidate as he was mainly in the areas surrounding Rundu campaigning. The voting starts at 07h00 and ends at night. Results are likely to be announced early tomorrow morning.