The chairperson of the United Peoples’ Movement (UPM), Jan van Wyk, says his party could have won the Rehoboth Rural Constituency if other opposition parties had adhered to the rules of the opposition coalition formed just before the elections.
Prior to last Friday’s elections the opossition Congress of Democrats (CoD), Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), Republican Party (RP), UPM and Nudo went into a political marriage of convenience.
In terms of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) the parties said they would not contest constituencies where they felt one member of the coalition was stronger, but would instead urge their supporters to vote for the alternative party.
As for the local authority elections it was agreed that each party would on its own contest a place on the council.
Van Wyk said there was an agreement between his party, the DTA and RDP that they would support each other’s candidates and would not field candidates in each other’s strongholds.
However, Van Wyk said, at the last minute the other political party’s fielded candidates for the Rehoboth Rural Constituency, thereby dividing the votes.
This cost the opposition the constituency, he said.
Van Wyk was satisfied with his party’s overall performance, but said it could have done better.
He also mentioned various alleged irregularities that took place during the elections.
According to Van Wyk, some of its party agents suffered intimidation at the hands of ECN officials and the Namibian Police. One case in point, he said, was at Witkop polling station where ECN officials refused to allow UPM agents entry and they had to sleep outside.
Another issue was at Kalkrand where a party agent was allegedly refused re-entry by a police officer after he went out to make a phone call.
Van Wyk further lamented what he called “the influx of voters from outside Rehoboth who voted in the Rehoboth Urban East Constituency”, which he said can be attributed to the use of false sworn statements made during the registration process.
He also strongly condemned a late directive from the ECN barring voters from voting in the Okahandja and Rehoboth Rural West constituencies.
According to the directive the people were apparently not registered as local authority voters due to human error during the registration process.
According to Van Wyk the computers did not recognise them as registered voters which was used to “sabotage” the party’s chances.
On the other side of the coin, Elma Dienda the secretary-general of the DTA refuted Van Wyk’s claims in the strongest possible terms.
According to her, they were still busy talking when suddenly the UPM candidates were announced.
According to Dienda, negotiations were still at an early stage when it became clear the UPM was not interested and did not honour the topics discussed.
She did not want to divulge further information, but she said she was satisfied with the overall performance of her party.
According to Dienda they did not lose one council seat, but instead gained 25.
She said that the DTA increased its local councillors from 16 in the previous election to 41 this time around and called it a major achievement.
“We are happy moving forward,” enthused a very confident Dienda.
Efforts to get comment from Mike Kavekotora of the RDP proved fruitless as he did not respond to messages left on his cellphone.