Namibia enters elections home stretch

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Windhoek - Namibia has entered the final stretch in the run-up to the November 25 regional and local authority elections, with political parties going all out to canvas for votes across the vast Southern African country.

Political parties are jostling to control regional councils and local authorities, with new and old contestants lining up to try and whittle SWAPO’s decades-old dominance of the country’s political landscape.

Apart from the ruling SWAPO Party, other participants in the elections include Affirmative Repositioning, the Popular Democratic Movement, the Landless People’s Movement, Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters, SWANU and other parties and independent candidates. 

Electoral Commission of Namibia director of elections Mr Theo Mujoro this week said the organisation was ready to conduct polling after the Supreme Court last year outlawed use of electronic voting machines (EXMs) as unconstitutional.

“Ballot papers have since arrived from South Africa and distribution across all constituencies will be done this week. We are pretty ready for the process and we are up to the task,” Mr Mujoro said.

According to Mr Mujoro, the electoral commission would start distributing ballot papers to all constituencies between November 18 and 20.

University of Namibia-based political scientist Dr Ndumba Kamwanyah told The Southern Times that the stage had been set for competitive polling, and his assessment was that SWAPO would entrench its dominance after the ballots were counted.

“… the fact that we have all these parties fielding candidates in all constituencies means competition. We might have stern competition for constituencies. It is also interesting to see that the SWAPO Party is parading all its machinery in the campaign trail. You can see that all the veterans of the party are on the campaign trail so it means they are not taking chances. There will be a strong contest for the youth vote,”said Dr Kamwanyah.

He also said he had confidence in the ability of the Electoral Commission of Namibia to manage the polls to an internationally acceptable standard.

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