SWAPO presidential candidate Geingob wins landslide victory in Namibia

SANF 14 no 63
The South West Africa People’s Organisation won a landslide victory in general elections held in Namibia in November, with presidential candidate Hage Geingob winning 87 percent of the vote.

Geingob, now Prime Minister, will be sworn in as President of Namibia in March next year.

According to final results announced by the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN), SWAPO secured 80 percent of the vote and 77 National Assembly seats in parliamentary elections held on November 28.

The party improved on its performance during the last elections held in 2009, when it received 75 percent of the vote and just 54 seats in the National Assembly.

Its closest rival, the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA), could only manage to get five seats while the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) secured three seats in the elections billed as Africa’s first e-vote.

The remaining 11 seats were shared among the 13 other political parties that contested the elections.

Namibia uses a majority system for presidential elections, in which the candidate with more than 50 percent of the votes is declared the winner, and Proportional Representation (PR) is used for legislative elections.

Under the PR system, each political party submits a list of candidates and then the parties receive seats proportional to their overall share of the national vote.

In the last elections in 2009, SWAPO won 54 seats, with the RDP getting eight. The United Democratic Front of Namibia, National Unity Democratic Organization and the DTA, All People’s Party, Congress of Democrats, Republican Party of Namibia and South West Africa National Union got one seat each.

Geingob defeated eight rivals by a landslide in a concurrent presidential poll, securing 87 percent of the ballots cast.

The other presidential candidates were McHenry Venaani of DTA, Hidipo Hamutenya of the RDP, Ben Ulenga (Congress of Democrats), Ignatius Shixwameni (People’s Party), Epafras Mukwilongo (Namibian Economic Freedom Fighters), Henry Mudge (Republican Party), Asser Mbai (National Unity Democratic Organization), and Usutuaije Maamberua (South West Africa National Union).

Geingob becomes the third president in Namibia since the country won its independence from South African apartheid occupation in March 1990.

He takes over in March from Hifikepunye Pohamba who has been president since 2004. Sam Nujoma was the country’s first post-independence president from March 1990.

Regional and international observers have applauded the elections as fair and credible despite complaints by some opposition parties that thousands of voters were turned away from polling stations due to technical challenges with the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).

Observers such as SADC, the African Union and European Union gave the vote their stamp of approval.

The SADC Election Observer Mission (SEOM), led by South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, noted that the period before, during and after the elections was generally peaceful, with isolated cases of intimidation.

Guided by the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections, the SEOM concludes that “the 2014 presidential and National Assembly elections in the Republic of Namibia were peaceful, transparent, free and fair, and credible, reflecting the will of the people of the Republic of Namibia.”

In a preliminary statement issued at the close of the poll, Nkoana-Mashabane noted that although the introduction of EVMs was agreeable to most political parties, it had become a contentious issue due to absence of a voter verifiable paper audit (paper trail).

Opposition parties had launched an 11th-hour court challenge just days before the election to stop the electronic vote from going ahead, saying the use of the voting machines could facilitate vote rigging. The application was dismissed by the Windhoek High Court.

Geingob promised to serve all Namibians irrespective of their political affiliation or status in life.

“I will be the president for all Namibian people,” Geingob said during the announcement of the elections results at the ECN headquarters in the capital.

The president-elect said his mission will be to ensure that no Namibians are left out of national development processes.

“As the next president I have a responsibility that I cannot carry out without the support of the Namibian people,” he said, adding that he would also work with the opposition.

SWAPO has been in power since 1990 after it won the pre-independence elections held under the United Nations aegis following more than two decades of armed struggle against apartheid South Africa. sardc.net

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