Poll fever kicks off in Oshakati East

09 July 2019 | Local News

Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) returning officer for Oshakati East, Efraim Iiyambo, says different political formations have shown an interest in registering their candidates for the upcoming constituency by-election.

The deadline for candidate registration is this coming Monday.

Swapo, the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), the All People's Party and an independent candidate have all confirmed to Namibian Sun that they will take part in the by-election scheduled for 24 August.

“So far only one candidate has been registered, but different political movements have approached our office to pick up the registration forms. The registration closing date is Monday at around 11:00,” said Iiyambo.

The by-election was necessitated by the death of Oshakati East constituency councillor Lotto Kuushomwa, who passed away on 27 May.

During supplementary voter registration that was conducted last month, 1 441 people registered, while over 17 000 people were already on the Oshakati East voters' roll, Iyambo said.

Pau Pau Kathanga of the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) movement said that they have already registered independent candidate, Fiina Kuutondokwa.

Kuutondokwa is a 41-year-old qualified artisan from Iikuku village and is employed as a fitter and turner at a mine in the south.

She confirmed she is standing as an independent candidate.

Oshana Swapo coordinator Samwel Nelongo said 64-year-old Abner Shikongo was elected by the district congress over the weekend and they are planning to register him tomorrow.

Kapolo said Shikongo is a teacher, who is a retired education inspector.

“Shikongo has been an active member of the Swapo Party for a very long time. He was a branch coordinator for the Amutenya Gwangwali branch. He also served as a member of the constituency development committee (CDC) during the late Kuushomwa's era. We believe he will bring much-needed development to the constituency,” Nelongo said.

The APP and PDM said they cannot provide the names of their candidates yet.

Congress of Democrats (CoD) acting president Elago Amuthenu said they still have to discuss whether they will be participating or not. “We would like to take a collective decision. I do not want us to repeat the same mistake we committed during the Ondangwa by-election, because someone was of the feeling that the EVMs will not reflect the true will of the people, while others just wanted to participate to give members the opportunity to demonstrate their democratic rights,” said Elago.

During the 2015 regional and local authority elections, out of 17 630 potential voters only 5 881 cast their votes in Oshakati East. The late Kuushomwa won the election by obtaining 5 559 votes, followed Daniel Andreas from the PDM with 241 votes.

Natangwe Shiwayu from the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) garnered 81 votes.

ILENI NANDJATO