Mujoro denies dodging 'independent' prickly pear

18 July 2019 | Politics

Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) chief electoral officer Theo Mujoro has denied dodging the prickly subject of independent candidates standing in elections in the country, following his last-minute withdrawal as the keynote speaker at a recent public discussion forum.

“I simply had other things to attend to during the suggested timeslot. Tell them I am still waiting for their invitation,” he said.

The Namibia Institute of Democracy (NID) had organised the forum.

NID programme manager Panduleni Nghipandulwa said there is a strong interest in the topic of independent candidates amongst youth, who are only getting involved in politics now.

He added the ECN has done fairly well in overseeing election processes, as evidenced in past polls.

“On several occasions the ECN has called on the public, including civil society organisations, to support the election process. So it is important for the ECN to take every opportunity it gets to fulfil its mandate, through platforms like public discussion forums,” said Nghipandulwa.

Social commentator Frederico Links said there is a lot of misunderstanding around the issue of independent candidates.

He described Mujoro missing the discussion forum as “missed opportunity”.

Raging debate

Swapo member Dr Panduleni Itula has announced he will stand as an independent candidate for the upcoming presidential election.

This seemingly inspired 27-year-old Angelina Immanuel to run as independent candidate during the Ondangwa Urban constituency by-election, which she narrowly lost to Swapo's candidate Leonard Negonga.

Negonga garnered 1 936 of the 3 792 votes cast, while Immanuel tallied 1 402, and was followed home by other established party candidates.

Swapo has condemned independent candidates coming out of its ranks and has repeatedly threatened to suspend members who go this route or who associate themselves with these candidates.

In 2015, Katjanaa Kaurivi, who has been a Swapo members since 1984, contested as independent candidate for the Otjombinde constituency councillor position.

Kaurivi decided to run as an independent after he lost a disputed Swapo primary against Karii Marenga.


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