Mixed feelings over Kavango vote

02 December 2019 | Local News

Political commentators have expressed mixed feelings over how people in Kavango East and Kavango West voted in the 2019 general election, despite being among the poorest regions in the country.

Swapo received 24 264 votes in Kavango West and 30 107 in Kavango East in the National Assembly poll, while President Geingob received a combined 54 006 votes from the two regions in the presidential poll

Commentators said some may have voted with the hope that things will get better, while others argued that emotional ties with the ruling party may have held sway over conscience.

Political commentator Ndumba Kamwanyah was one of those who argued that the two Kavango regions voted in an anticipation that things will change for the better.

Kamwanyah also argued that Geingob and Swapo should reflect on the overall outcomes of the presidential and National Assembly elections and use them as a roadmap when addressing national issues. “We must also know that people vote because of hope, hoping that things will be better. I think that is the message the Kavango people are giving. They are saying: 'Look at us, we are still standing with you and we are hoping that you will look at our situation',” Kamwanyah said. “I think the president should listen carefully, not to only where he was not voted for, but to the people who voted for him and interpret what is that message they are trying to give.” Kamwanyah also dealt with Geingob's claim during a town hall meeting before the elections that Kavangos had voted overwhelmingly for the DTA in the 1989 elections.

Kamwanyah said even after Geingob made those remarks, which many perceived as an insult, the Kavangos went out in their numbers and voted for the incumbent.

Political analyst Frederico Links said Swapo has always relied on the Kavango vote.

“Swapo has always relied on the Kavango regions; that's their bedrock of support. If you look at the previous elections, it has always been a runaway, landslide for Swapo... They can take that for granted, and they do.

“I don't know what other parties can do or what needs to be done, so that the people in those regions change their mind. There seems to be a disconnect between their lived reality and the national political leadership not providing for them. People don't seem to connect these two things,” Links argued. Professor Nico Horn said there is an emotional relationship between the people of the Kavango regions and Swapo.

“I think there is an emotional tie between Swapo and the north. They are a strong voting power,” Horn added.

Kenya Kambowe

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