Democracy works: Pohamba

05 September 2014
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THE outcome of any crucial election is no longer the prerogative of an individual or clique of party members, but rather a reflection of the will of the electorate as has become the norm in most modern African democracies.

The conclusion of the Swapo party electoral college has given birth to what some party members now term as the ‘New Swapo’, which recently proved that the party has graduated from a liberation movement to a political party.

Political parties that led liberation movements still control a large number of African governments.

Namibia is no different.

The power or stronghold of a liberation movement is normally concentrated either in a handful of people or one individual who is at the helm of the party.

In the case of Swapo, Founding President Sam Nujoma has for a long time been the centre of power.

Nujoma is not only as the ‘great strategist’ of our time, but also as a leader who was able to rule with an iron fist and at the same time an unparalleled charisma.

The Swapo agenda and the Nujoma agenda have always been one and the same, and it was an open secret that when it came to elections within the party the centre of power would always be the determining factor.

However, to the surprise of everyone who has closely followed politics in the country, these dynamics seems to have changed in the last two years as power has become decentralised.

The Swapo party parliamentary list speaks volumes about this power shift within the party, and for the first time in 24 years the ‘pot’ did not cook using Nujoma’s recipe or instructions.

The mere fact that the delegates voted a fresh crop of leaders into power and allowed the system to retire some of the party stalwarts, illustrated not only that democracy worked but also that the transition from a liberation movement to a political party continues to steam ahead in Swapo.

In his speech after the announcement of the election results, President Hifikepunye Pohamba, emphasised that democracy works within the Swapo party and Namibia as a whole.

“Democracy is working and I will say it again democracy is working, and it’s now up to us to convince the electorate to vote for Swapo in the upcoming Presidential and National Assembly elections,” President Pohamba said.

In an interview on Saturday evening, shortly after the conclusion of the electoral college, Kazenambo Kazenambo who withdrew from the race admitted that the outcome of the elections had shocked him.

“This is a drastic change for the party. In fact what have seen today is that there is a new Swapo and those of us from the old Swapo who are accustomed to the ways of the old Swapo need to adjust ourselves to follow this new Swapo,” Kazenambo said.

The former youth minister argued that the fact that the new National Assembly list buried a significant chunk of the incumbent members of Cabinet could be interpreted as a vote of no confidence in the government of the day.

“If what happened here today took place in a western democracy, it would force members of Cabinet to submit their resignation on Monday morning, because the party has spoken and their message is loud and clear,” he said.

Naturally, not everyone will be as quick as Kazenambo to acknowledge and embrace the changes.

The discontent among the old guard was evident when the media quoted Defence Minister Nahas Angula, who withdrew from the race, as saying “the list showed that the electorate no longer appreciates what some of these people did for the liberation of this country”.

However, that line of thinking and the generation that subscribed to it have most certainly become redundant as only a handful of the new cream of the crop actually have the liberation credentials that in the past served as a ticket to power and claim to fame.

Voting style bittersweet

Just shortly after casting his vote on Saturday, Jerry Ekandjo remarked that the new method of voting for a fixed number of candidates on both the male and female lists made it difficult to complete the usually quick process.

He explained that after having voted for everyone he knew and supported, he realised that he had only voted for 28 people and then had to search for another 12.

“When I thought I had exhausted all names, I came to realise I had only voted for 28, and at that point you start scrutinizing names and eventually you just tick especially when it came to the female list.”

Party members, who also narrowly made the cut, remarked on Saturday evening that the Minister of Presidential Affairs Albert Kawana was the one who insisted on making it mandatory for delegates to vote for 42 people on each list.

“He was pushing for this, thinking it would save him when all it did was the exact opposite.

“In the past one would vote for those one supported and that was it, but this mandatory thing of voting for 42 people on each list, is what especially gave way for delegates from the regions to come to the fore.

“Don’t introduce a system if you don’t want it to work,” one party member said.

Before announcing the results, Lawyer Sisa Namandje, who presided over the elections, said that after observing that some members had struggled to count and verify whether they had voted for the correct number of people on both lists, he allowed for an additional two votes up or down.

Namandje stressed that they had verified the outcome and that the party had conducted the elections in a free and fair manner.

The party initially printed 230 ballot papers of which 28 remained unused. Namandje explained that they had printed additional ballots just in case.

In total, 212 female ballots and 213 male ballots were counted, whilst four of the female ballots were spoilt and three of the men’s ballots were also spoilt.

Because each delegate had to vote for 88 candidates in order of preference, election officers counted 8,898 votes for women and 8,937 votes for male candidates, which brought the total number of votes counted at the electoral college to 17,835.

The Geingob lifeline

The last bit of remaining anxiety and anticipation centres on the eight people that Geingob will select as his eight nominated members of the National Assembly.

There has been speculation that Geingob would throw a lifeline to his opponents from the 2012 congress namely Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana and Jerry Ekandjo, however that remains to be seen.

It further emerged that some of the old guard, who did not make the cut, did not waste time after the conclusion of the electoral college and approached those close to the party vice-president to plead their case.
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The top 96 Swapo candidates for the National Assembly as delegates elected them at the electoral college using the zebra system.

1. Nangolo Mbumba
 2. Laura McLeod
 3. Pohamba Shifeta
 4. Agnes Kafula
 5. Sebastian Karupu
 6. Lucia Iipumbu
 7. Bernard Esau
 8. Priscilla Beukes
 9. Tjekero Tweya
 10. Lucia Witbooi
 11. Charles Namoloh
 12. Netumbo Ndaitwah
 13. Veikko Nekundi
 14. Johanna Kandjimi
 15. John Mutorwa
 16. Alexia Manombe-Ncube
 17. Alfeus Naruseb
 18. Doreen Sioka
 19. Natangwe Iithete
 20. Sophia Shaningwa
 21. Tom Alweendo
 22. Juliet Kavetuna
 23. Calle Schlettwein
 24. Christine //Hoebes
 25. Erastus Uutoni
 26. Sylvia Makgone
 27. Engel Nawatiseb
 28. Agnes Tjongarero
 29. Nicky Iyambo
 30. Anna Shiweda
 31. Asser Kapere
 32. Lidwina Shapwa
 33. Frans Kapofi
 34. Ndilipo Namupala
 35. Peter Katjavivi
 36. Maureen Hinda-Mbaziira
 37. Pieter van der Walt
 38. Aino Kapewangolo
 39. Hambyuka Hamutenya
 40. Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila
 41. Penda Ya Ndakolo
 42. Bernadette Jagger
 43. Erkki Nghimtina
 44. Lucia Nghaamwa
 45. Sankwasa James Sankwasa
 46. Kornelia Shilunga
 47. Sakeus Shanghala
 48. Anna Hipondoka
 49. Leon Jooste
 50. Priscilla Kavita
 51. Stanley Simataa
 52. Rebecca Iipinge
 53. Derek Klazen
 54. Sophia Swartz
 55. Usko Nghaamwa
 56. Itah Kandji-Murangi
 57. Immanuel Ngatjizeko
 58. Eveline Taeyele-Nawases
 59. Samuel Chief Ankama
 60. Rebecca Ndjoze-Ojo
 61. Tommy Nambahu
 62. Annakletha Sikerete
 63. /Ui/o/oo Royal
 64. Faustina Caley
 65. Alpheus Muheua
 66. Emilia Amupewa
 67. Daniel Kashikola
 68. Margaret Mahoto
 69. Billy Mwaningange
 70. Marina Kandumbu
 71. Utoni Nujoma
 72. Loide Kasingo
 73. Peya Mushelenga
 74. Norah Munsu
 75. Bernardus Swartbooi
 76. Ida Hoffman
 77. Leevi Katoma
 78. Loide Shinavene
 79. Gothard Kasuto
 80. Katrina Hanse-Himarwa
 81. Jerry Ekandjo
 82. Paula Kooper
 83. Elifas Dingara
 84. Martha Tilahun-Namundjebo
 85. Joel Kaapanda
 86. Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana
 87. Festus Marenga
 88. Wilburga Katamelo
 89. David Namwandi
 90. Maggie Mensah-Williams
 91. Phillipus Heita
 92. Mary Masule
 93. Elia Kaiyamo
 94. Eunice Iipinge
 95. Isak Katali
 96. Angelika Muharukua

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