Preliminary figures indicate low voter turnout… Swapo takes lead, DTA gains and RDP loses constituencies

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Windhoek/Opuwo/Ongwediva

Preliminary results obtained by the time of going to print indicate a low turnout of voters in various constituencies and regions, with some constituencies, such as Oshikuku, seeing a mere 6,16 percent of registered voters turning up.
According to New Era calculations, based on the preliminary results, the turnout for most constituencies and regions varied between 20 and 45 percent, with a few regions and constituencies registering about 52 percent turnout.

As of late yesterday afternoon the Electoral Commission of Namibia was still auditing the final figures, but said the turnout for !Karas Region was 17.17 percent, based on the declared results.
Preliminary results also show that the ruling party has made inroads into constituencies where opposition parties have long been dominant.

The Rally for Democracy and Progress meanwhile lost constituencies in regions where it previously held power, such as in Kunene, //Karas and Khomas. The DTA went on to gain constituencies and local council seats in these very places, some of which had previously been dominated by the RDP.

The UDF also lost its key constituency and local council seats in the Kunene Region.
According to preliminary results Oshikoto Region was one of the regions that recorded a turnout of 30 percent of the 16 820 registered voters, with Omuthiya Constituency recording a turnout of 29,48 percent.

In Omusati Region, where only 42 percent of the 56 361 registered voters went to the polls on Friday, ECN’ officials suggested the low turnout can be ascribed to the fact that the just-ended regional and local authority elections – in which citizens vote in their constituencies – cannot be compared to those of the Presidential and National Assembly Elections in which voters can vote wherever they happen to be.

“These elections were different from last year, because last year the whole country became one constituency,” explained ECN regional director in the Omusati Region, Leonard Ndazapo.
In the Kunene Region, where the turnout was 52,6 percent of the 51 564 registered voters, politicians blamed the low voter turnout on the prevailing drought that continues to plague the region.

“People, especially in the rural areas, are in the mountains herding their cattle and looking for water-points. They would rather make sure their animals are well cared for instead of voting, and it is understandable,” said newly re-elected DTA Councillor for Opuwo Rural Constituency, Kazeongere Tjeundo.

According to preliminary figures, Kunene Region, which has for long been home to the DTA and UDF, now belongs to Swapo after the ruling party managed to win control over five of the region’s seven constituencies. The DTA managed to hold onto Epupa and Opuwo rural constituencies.

UDF president Apius Auchab blamed his party’s dismal performance on two independent candidates that contested for the Sesfontein Constituency.

“The two independent candidates came from our party and people know them, hence our votes were divided. That is why we lost Sesfontein,” said Auchab. He claims his party lost Kamanjab Constituency, because the party’s popular figure, former Kunene governor Dudu Murorua, who hails from that area, was not the candidate.

“In the past we won, because Dudu was our candidate there and he is very popular. The contest between Swapo and us was always neck-to-neck. This time around we fielded a candidate who worked at the constituency office. In the meantime there was a high influx of people into the area that also influenced the outcome,” he said.
As for Khorixas, Auchab had no excuse: “In Khorixas it was the choice of the people and I respect that. I want to thank the people of Kunene for trusting us to govern the region for 23 years.”

He nevertheless says the ruling party will struggle to govern Khorixas, because of government’s decision to relocate government offices from Khorixas to Opuwo.

RDP president Jeremiah Nambinga declined to make a statement on the preliminary results when approached for comment yesterday, saying he has a death in the family.

– Additional reporting by Mathias Haufiku in Kunene, Helvy Shaanika in Oshana and Oshikoto, Nuusita Ashipala in Omusati, and Tuulikki Abrahams in !Karas.

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