Swapo Party secretary general Nangolo Mbumba has refuted claims by some ruling party members that the Swapo Party Women’s Council (SPWC) election results were “rigged”.
The recently ended SPWC congress held at Keetmanshoop saw Eunice Iipinge elected as new secretary, while Fransina Kahungu was elected as deputy secretary amidst vote-rigging claims by some members.
The claims started after polling officials took about 17 hours to count a mere 557 votes – counting started at 06h10 on Saturday and the results were only announced around 23h00 on Sunday.
This led to many delegates, among others Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, Katrina Hanse-Himarwa and Hardap Governor Esme Isaack alleging via the SPWC WhatsApp group that the results were rigged.
But Mbumba was quick to dismiss the claims as “just speculation”. Speaking to New Era telephonically Mbumba said the election and the congress as a whole were a success, despite the delay.
“It’s normal that anytime there is a delay in any election, people start speculating,” he said, adding: “But this is normal, even elections in Ghana were delayed,” in reference to that country where millions of people voted compared to a mere 557 voters at Keetmanshoop.
He pointed out that the delay was due to lack of experience by some officials as they were relatively new to the task of overseeing the election, adding that facilitating about 700 votes can’t be a walk in the park and thus people shouldn’t point fingers at anyone.
He further said the results stand as they are and whoever has won, won fairly, stressing that the party accepts the results as announced by the returning officer.
“This is democracy and like in any election there could only be one winner because you can’t have two secretaries,” he said.
Asked if the party would look into the rigging claims, Mbumba said that would be premature and nothing of the kind can be done unless an official complaint is launched with his office, which he said has not happened so far.
“To launch a probe you need to have something in writing and so far we have nothing,” he noted on the possibility of investigating the rigging claims.
Mbumba urged the newly elected leadership to work hard for their party, indicating that hard work starts now and that they have a mandate to not only unite women but all Namibians.