Update From Namibia
Sheriff Mahmud Ismail
*Windhoek – November 30, 2019* – The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN), has announced the incumbent SWAPO party candidate, Dr. Hage Geingob, as winner of the just concluded polls. SWAPO has ruled the small Southern African nation since its independence on March 21, 1990. The elections were the stiffest since independence with about 16 parties and around 9 presidential candidates. For the first time, there was a female presidential candidate (Esther Utjiua Muinjangue) and an independent presidential candidate (Dr. Itula). While the Independent candidate defeated the main opposition People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) of McHenry Vanaani, polling the second highest in the presidential contest, PDM retains its position as the party with the second highest number of seats (14) in the National Assembly, scoring 136,576 as against SWAPO’s 536,861 votes. This effectively means that SWAPO has retained its Two-Thirds majority in the legislature.
Worthy to note however is the fact that the incumbent’s popularity has been significantly chopped down from 87% in 2014 to 56%. This is attributed to a number of factors including youth unemployment and disaffection and the emergence of an independent candidate who broke away from the ruling party but strangely retained his membership of that party. Analysts say the results are a clear message to Dr. Geingob regarding his first term performance.
“I wish to thank Namibians for re-electing me as their president. I am humbled and commit to serve the Namibian nation with more passion and utmost dedication, to bring tangible improvements in the lives of our citizens. I have heard you,” Geingob wrote on social media after the announcement of his victory came in.
The independent candidate (who came second in the presidential polls) has expressed dissatisfaction over the delay (about 3 days after the polls) in announcing the final results. This is especially given the fact that the total votes cast was less than 900,000 in an election that was electronic based.
The ECN however put the delay to the late return from the field of presiding officers for the collation and authentication of the results.
Meanwhile, international observers including the African Union Election Observation Mission (AUEOM), in their preliminary statements have commended political parties, the ECN and the people of Namibia for the “peaceful conduct of transparent and credible elections”.
“In spite of few minor technical hitches, the polls were largely orderly, transparent and credible. The voters demonstrated tremendous patience and determination to exercise their democratic right to choose their leaders. In the end, it’s the people of Namibia and democracy who are the biggest winners”, said the AUEOM Head of Mission, Sierra Leone’s distinguished immediate past president, H.E. Ernest Bai Koroma.
While the country remains peaceful, the president elect is slated to address the nation on Monday.