ALTHOUGH voting in the by-elections for four new constituency councillors in the Walvis Bay Urban, Gobabis, Keetmanshoop and Khomasdal constituencies took place without any serious incidents, the voter turnout was disappointingly low.
Polls opened on time at 07:00 and closed punctually at 21:00 at all 73 polling stations in the four constituencies and logistics went smoothly. Less than ten percent of the registered voters in the four constituencies cast their votes in the by-elections.
Amos Nguaiko, a senior official of the Electoral Commission of Namibia in Walvis Bay said after the polls closed that several factors contributed to the low voter turnout on the day that residents of the Walvis Bay urban constituency had to vote for a new representative on the regional council.
Nguaiko said voter fatigue and a lack of voter education played a big role in the low turnout experienced in Walvis Bay.
“Some of the people only knew that they had to come and vote and had to be told what they were voting for before they cast their ballot,” he said.
Another contributing factor is voter apathy especially among the youth he said. Nguaiko remarked that most of the voters that participated in the polls were elderly.
According to Nguaiko political parties participating in elections should do more to educate the electorate. He added that civic organisations should also increase their involvement in voter education.
“Other contributing factors could have been the fact that school reopened today which drew peoples’ attention away from the voting process or that people were at work most of the day.”
The fact that the councillors that would be voted in now, is only an interim measure was also a contributing factor.
The proper regional council and local authority elections will be held in November this year when the process will have to be repeated.