By-elections dampened

The beginning of the school year was pinpointed as the reason for a slow start to by-election voting in four constituencies yesterday.

16 January 2020 | Politics

Voting was slow in by-elections that took place in the Khomasdal, Gobabis Urban, Keetmanshoop Urban and Walvis Bay Urban constituencies yesterday, with the opening of the school year playing a key role.

Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) chief electoral officer Theo Mujoro said yesterday afternoon that the results would be released as soon as they are collated in the various constituencies.

The start of the school year was blamed for why voting got off to a slow start yesterday morning when Namibian Sun visited multiple polling stations in Khomasdal.

Walter Hendricks, the presiding officer at the Otjomuise clinic polling station, expressed worry about the low turnout.

“We have experienced no problems, but we've only had 40 voters so far.

It will improve later in the day, because the schools just opened,” said Hendricks.

Mbeumuna Rukoro, the presiding officer at the Mamadu polling station, said they did not experience any glitches as voting got underway.

“We opened the station at 07:00 and we did not have any problems. The voters were well-behaved.”

Rukoro informed Namibian Sun that about 40 voters had showed up to cast their votes by 10:00.

Landless People's Movement (LPM) observer at the Mamadu polling station in Otjomuise, Samuel Driemond, said he did not observe any issues.

“It is going well. We did not have any problems at this polling station. However, we had a problem with verifying one voter who returned to get his voter card, as he did not show up with any voter's card when he came to cast his vote.”

Angelina Tjipareho, a Swapo observer at the same polling station, echoed Driemond's sentiments.

At the Daan Viljoen polling station, presiding officer Alvin Kuutondokwa was satisfied with the manner in which voting was taking place.

“We have had a number of voters already. It is picking up. I guess people went to work and took their children to school and that is why the turnout is low,” Kuutondokwa said at the time. Swapo election observer at the Daan Viljoen polling station John Shilukeni agreed the movement of voters coming to vote was slow. “We only had a few people so far.”

Walvis Bay decides

Voting took place at a snail's pace in the harbour town of Walvis Bay yesterday.

However, at the time, returning officer Jeff Manale expressed confidence that the process would be smooth at the 10 fixed and nine mobile polling stations at the town.

According to some observers, the fact that voting coincided with the start of the first school term could have resulted in the slow start experienced.

Some parents were at schools, while others attended to their work obligations.

The ECN indicated that 23 169 people registered for the by-election.

According to Melina Clouded Neis, the presiding officer at the Kuisebmond community hall polling station, an estimated 300 people had voted by 11:00.

The Kuisebmond community hall also served as the collating centre for the by-election.

Swapo's Sirie Topulathana, Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) candidate Richard Hoaeb and two independent candidates – Knowledge Ipinge and Kenneth Iilonga – contested to become the next councillor for the Walvis Bay Urban ­Constituency.


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