By Tiri Masawi
Windhoek - Political analysts in Namibia this week said President Hage Geingob is poised to retain his presidency albeit with a reduced margin despite a plethora of economic challenges faced by the country.
University of Namibia senior lecturer and political analyst, Ndumba Kamwanyah, said President Geingob has odds stuck in his favour because of Swapo’s dominance in Namibian politics and also the country’s state machinery on his side.
He said while Namibia will have a large number of the youths vote who are grappling with unemployment and economic challenges, traditional Swapo supporters from the rural folk are most likely to carry Geingob through despite facing a stiff challenged from eight other candidates.
Namibia heads to the elections on November 27 with eight candidates contesting for the country’s ticket to State House.
President Geingob, for the first time faces some sort of challenge from another Swapo member, Panduleni Ithula, who will contest as an independent candidate, while McHenry Venaani of the Popular Democratic Movement is going for his second attempt at Namibia’s top job.
Other candidates include Landless People’s Movement (LPM) president Bernadus Swartbooi, Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) president Mike Kavekotora, Swanu president Tangeni Iiyambo, as well as the only female candidate, Esther Muinjangue, representing National Unity Democratic Organisation (NUDO).
“Realistically, I think Geingob will pull through but the issue is whether he will be able to carry through the dominance that he had last time. My belief is that his margin of win will go down because of the economic challenges in the country where most people are apportioning blame to him. The fact that he has also relieved three ministers implicated in corruption from their positions could come in handy as a good political bargain towards the vote,” Kamwanyah said.
He added that while the other candidates had a reasonable following, they were most likely to lose because they will split their votes.
“It will have been a different story if it was a united front but the opposition is not at its best to dislodge the dominance of the ruling party,” he said.
Another renowned economic and political analyst, Dr Omu Kakujaha-Matundu, also added that President Geingob only faces a reality of decreasing votes from the last election but whether he will win or not is not in question.
“Well, the issue is that his win is not in question whatsoever, but the margin will not be the same. I would be glad if he can do more to tackle corruption and also find a way of dealing with the economic challenges.
“My assessment is that Venaani is most likely to retain the official opposition status, while there is a definite chance of having Swartbooi back in parliament. I am not so sure if RDP, NUDO and Swanu will gather enough votes to make any dent on the current situation,” he said.
Dr Kakujaha-Matundu said while there was a realistic chance of the protest vote of those that were experiencing economic challenges, it will not be enough to have Swapo lose.
“For the first time, we have a situation where there are two faces identified as Swapo in one election. The independent candidate has deep roots in Swapo while the incumbent is the sole Swapo candidate. This somewhat will create confusion for the voter. However, whether that confusion is sufficient enough to cause an upset is another story. Swapo still commands power from its traditional bases and that is more than enough to carry through the incumbent,” he said.