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Swakop By-election Was A Gamble for Principles- Itula

Staff Writer

The IPC leader Dr Panduleni Itula says the party’s victory in the Swakopmund by-election was a gamble between principles and breaking the law.

IPC, represented by Luisa Kativa, retained the seat with 3 625 votes. Swapo’s Salomon Ndara Nehemiah received 3 122 votes, while the Landless People’s Movement, represented by Hilaria Tangeni Musheko, scored 1 362 votes.

The seat became vacant after IPC dismissed Ciske Smith-Howard. 9,918 people voted on Friday.

Until now, Kativa was the Swakopmund mayor on the IPC ticket.

In the 2020 regional election, Smith-Howard obtained 5,688 votes. The Swapo candidate, Phillipus Munenguni, came second with 3,260 votes.

Itula said the party had to choose between breaking the law and its principles.

“We took a gamble. We looked at the 2020 votes that were more than 5 000. We then said to ourselves that if we lose 2 000, we can still have something,” Itula said.

He added that they had to decide between holding onto their principles and the possibility of an onslaught from the public.

“We had to stick to our principles rather than allow a person to break the law. The party must sacrifice, and the leader must also sacrifice,” Itula said.

Itula said Kativa, who is the town’s mayor, would make up the time the party lost in disciplining and removing the former councillor Ciske Howard-Smith, in due time.

“As soon as she’s sworn in, she will have to relinquish her role as mayor of Swakopmund and take up the more advanced responsibility in the regional council and provide services to the people of Swakopmund.

We believe that the time that has been lost will actually be gained through other means as well. We are sure that, if we have the free hand to be able to govern this country, we will comply will the rule of law, and there will be no time lost at all.”

LPM’s second in command, Henny Seibeb, said the win showed that their numbers have grown.

“We are learning and did it to test whether we were making headway. We have numbers,” Seibeb said.

According to Seibeb, most people did not vote according to their database.

Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN)’s Lina Ndengu agreed with these sentiments, stating that only 26% of Swakopmund’s registered voters turned up to vote.

“We are concerned about the low voter turnout. Out of the 37,603 voters, we only received 9,918 votes, which is 26 per cent voter turnout, which is actually quite low, and this we have seen is a trend with the regional council and local authority elections. We are hoping, in the future, to increase this voter turnout, and maybe push on our civic education, on why it is important to vote for the regional and local authority council.

“The councillors they are voting for in the by-election are the ones that bringing services close to them, such as water, land, health.”

If they don’t go out to vote, someone else is making a choice on their behalf. At the end of the day, you find people saying they don’t get services, but they never went out to vote,” she told The Villager.

Staff Writer

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