by Sakeus Iikela

PRESIDENTIAL results released at several constituencies yesterday show that president Hage Geingob was losing his grip on urban supporters.

Most urban voters opted for independent candidate Panduleni Itula rather than supporting a candidate [Geingob] they overwhelmingly voted for in 2014.

The final results for the presidential elections had not been officially announced by the time of going to print yesterday.

However, the results show a close contest between Geingob and Itula – who has chosen to remain a Swapo member despite contesting the elections independently.

Yesterday’s results show that the president won a substantially reduced number of votes in some major urban areas. In the Khomas region, for example, Geingob’s support dropped from 91,4% in 2014 to 34% in the Samora Machel constituency.

Geingob got 6 328 votes of the total votes cast in that constituency, while Itula took 10 214 of the total 18 424 votes in the constituency.

The ruling party’s share of votes was also reduced in that constituency, dropping from 85% in 2014 to 53,7% this year.

The Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), going by yesterday’s results, looked to have picked up support at constituencies where the independent candidate performed well.

The party gained 24% of the votes in Samora Machel constituency after having only managed a mere 3,6% in the same constituency in 2014.

Geingob also lost voters in several other constituencies such as John Pandeni in Khomas region, dropping from 86% in 2014 to 38% in 2019 and the Windhoek Rural constituency, from 77,6% in 2014 to 35%.

Geingob further lost the Swakopmund constituency, the Keetmanshoop Urban and Rural constituencies, despite getting 77% and 66% from those areas in 2014.

The Keetmanshoop constituencies were won by the leader of new entrant, the Landless People’s Movement, Bernadus Swartbooi.

Results from several rural constituencies in Ohangwena and the two Kavango regions, however, boosted Geingob’s chances of scooping the presidential race.

Political commentator Hoze Riruako, however, predicted the outcome of this week’s presidential and National Assembly elections to be different from previous elections when the ruling party defeated opponents who broke away from the party, such as the Congress of Democrats and the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP).

Riruako said the “knock-on effect this time will be a bit higher than when the CoD and RDP made their debut [the election]”.

Despite losing votes in the urban areas, Riruako said he believes the ruling party and Geingob will still win the elections.

He said: “I think Swapo will still win the majority. But I think what will happen will be similar to what happened in South Africa […] now with the debacle around the former president Jacob Zuma, the ANC lost so much support getting only up to about 54%”.

“So, I suspect that in Namibia Swapo could be getting at least about 70% of the votes and Geingob getting between 60% and 70%. Swapo has a strange tradition especially when you go to the villages where they get overwhelming support but if you look at the foreign missions, Itula was doing very well,” Riruako said.

Riruako, however, said he was not surprised by the drop in Geingob’s support and that of the ruling party in urban areas given the recent low turnout of supporters at the party’s final star rally held in Windhoek earlier this month.

“Whenever you saw those people who are exposed, well educated and who can articulate issues, a person like Itula will stand a good chance. Everybody who is not satisfied with how Swapo was running the country will pin their hopes on Itula,” Riruako said.

*This article has been updated.

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