The low voter turnout in the Omaheke Region for last Friday’s regional and local authority elections is being blamed on the severe drought in the country.
Known as the ‘Cattle Country,’ the Omaheke Region recorded a voter turnout of 48.51 percent of the 43 092 people who registered to vote in the region.
Nudo incoming councillor for Otjinene, Erwin Katjizeu, said his party could have won all seats in the local authority election were it not for the drought affecting communal farmers in the area.
“Farmers in Otjinene are facing what looks like the worst drought in the last ten years and a significant number of livestock has already been lost in the constituency. This puts economic pressure on most farmers as they depend on livestock for their survival,” he said.
He urged the Omaheke regional governor Festus Ueitele to appeal to government to come up an assistance plan to support affected farmers.
He also called on the regional office to set up a committee to help those deeply affected by the drought.
“I have a big belief that our government will assist us in this regard,” he added.
Swapo regional coordinator Kejamuina Mungendje said although the drought can be blamed it cannot be the major reason.
“The ECN had mobile polling stations everywhere in the region so for me the poor turnout cannot only be attributed to the drought,” he said.
Meanwhile, according to the Namibia Meteorological Services in Windhoek, Namibia could experience normal to above-normal rainfall until January next year.
From January to March the western parts of Namibia can expect normal to above-normal rainfall, while the rest of the country could experience normal to below normal rainfall.
The Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum analysis is that all areas of Namibia are likely to receive normal to below-normal rainfall in the coming rainy season, which started in October and ends at the close of March.
Currently, ocean surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean are higher than normal, which signifies the presence of an El Niño weather event.
An El Niño event usually has the effect of reduced rainfall in Namibia and the rest of southern Africa. The current El Niño is reported to be the strongest since a previous record El Niño in 1997-98, which also gave rise to a drier than normal rainy season in most of Namibia.
The maximum temperatures during summer are expected to be very high.
The Namibian agricultural sector is still reeling from the effects of the 2013 drought – the worst in 35 years – and the prolonged dry spell of 2014/15.