THE 15th of June will not be an ordinary Saturday for Mandume Tuhafeni, Leonard Negonga, Angeline Immanuel, Asser Vincent and Johannes Martin.
Their intensive campaigning of the past months will finally be put to the ultimate test that day when thousands of registered voters in the Ondangwa Urban constituency of the Oshana Region go to the polls to elect their new constituency councillor.
The five candidates – representing four political parties and one independent candidate – are vying for the highest political office at constituency level which was left vacant when the then incumbent councillor Elia Irimari was appointed Oshana regional governor earlier this year.
The ruling Swapo Party has fielded former Ondangwa mayor Leonard Negonga as its candidate while the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) has opted for Johannes Martin who is currently the party’s sole councillor for the Ondangwa local authority.
The Congress of Democrats (CoD) and the All People’s Party (APP) have Mandume Tuhafeni and Asser Vincent as their respective candidates and Angeline Immanuel is standing as independent candidate.
According to the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) the constituency has 15,790 registered voters.
ECN’s corporate communications officer Vikitoria Hango said that there will be 18 fixed and three mobile polling stations manned by 105 ECN officials.
Polling stations will open at 07:00 and close at 21:00. The counting of votes is expected to start immediately after polling stations close at 21:00.
Ondangwa Urban constituency has a mixed record when it comes to the number of registered voters who turn up to vote.
During the 2014 General Elections the constituency achieved a voting percentage of 102.83% when the number of actual voters (15,627) exceeded the number of registered voters (15,197).
But a year later, in 2015, voter apathy settled in when only 28.2% of the 15,140 registered voters cast their ballot in the regional elections in which the Swapo party candidate, Elia Irimari, emerged victorious with 3,918 votes, defeating the then DTA’s Asser Vincent (232 votes) and the RPD’s Anna Nikanor (117 votes).
However, the RDP is staying away this time round while the DTA/PDM’s Asser Vincent has changed political colours and is now standing as the APP’s candidate.
According to observers, the campaign has largely been peaceful, with only sporadic reports of vandalism of propaganda material such as posters and leaflets, but no serious case of intimidation or politically-motivated violence was recorded so far.