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Oshakati East by-election divides the CoD

Oshakati East by-election divides the CoD

Placido Hilukilwa
WHETHER or not the Congress of Democrats (CoD) is fielding a candidate for the vacant post of the Oshakati East constituency councillor scheduled for 24 August, remains uncertain as internal division widens and leaders disagree on the way forward.
The party’s acting president Vaino Amuthenu revealed in an interview with Informante Wednesday that his party is boycotting the Oshakati East constituency by-election scheduled for 24 August, but another section of the party is continuing to use social media to advocate the CoD’s paarticipation.
Amuthenu said that the CoD is not fielding a candidate due to the continued use by the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) of the “unreliable” Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
He referred to the recent Ondangwa Urban constituency by-election as confirmation of his party’s longstanding distrust of the EVMs.
He said the CoD went into the Ondangwa Urban by-election as a divided entity, with some within the party supporting the fielding of a candidate while another current was against it.
“Looking at the results, those who opposed our participation now feel vindicated,” he said.
The CoD’s Andreas Mandume only garnered 31 votes from a total of 3792 votes, while the Swapo candidate Leonard Negonga was declared winner with 1926 votes. Independent candidate Angelina Immanuel obtained 1402 votes, PDM’s Martin Johannes (336 votes) and Vincent Asser of the All people’s Party got 97 votes.
According to Amuthenu, the CoD has always been suspicious of the ECN’s continued use of EVMs and the recent Ondangwa Urban by-election only served to confirm that “something was terribly wrong”.
“Participation in EVM elections,” he said, “is not only a waste of time and a waste of our scarce resources, but also serves to legitimize the continued use of the unreliable EVMs. That is why we are not participating in the Oshakati East by-election. We are still fighting to ensure that EVMs won’t be used in the Presidential and National Assembly elections later this year.”
However, one of the CoD’s prominent leaders in the North, Boas Mwapopi, was this afternoon still hopeful that his party would field a candidate before the 15 July deadline.
The Oshakati East constituency by-election was necessitated by the recent death of councilor Lotto Kuushomwa who held the highest political office in the constituency since 2010.

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