THE Namibian presidential and parliamentary elections which took place on 27 November were free and fair. This was said by the executive director of NamRights Mr Phil ya Nangoloh while speaking exclusively to Omutumwa.

Ya Nangoloh’s comments run in the face of Dr Panduleni Itula and several political parties who are arguing that the elections were not free and fair. Dr Itula, who was the leading challenger to unseat the incumbent President Hage Geingob, has been busy making preparations to mount a legal challenge over the results of the elections as well as drumming up mass support to force the current government to resign.

“Those who understand the politics of southern Africa will tell you that the Namibian elections just went according to the pattern of the state of affairs in southern Africa,” said Ya Nangoloh. “Dr Itula and the opposition parties won in Khomas Region and in other major towns across Namibia, but the Swapo Party and its president won in the rural areas. And if you look at South Africa in their last election the ANC lost in Johannesburg and other cities but won in the rural areas. In Zimbabwe it was the same pattern with Zanu-PF losing in urban areas but winning in the rural areas. In Angola Unita won in Luanda, Huambo and other urban areas while the ruling party MPLA won in the rural areas.”

According to the human rights defender the ruling party Swapo will still be in power for the next 20 years to come. “The time for Swapo to lose is not now. In this election they have lost a fraction because of corruption. In future they will lose more, but not now. For the time being Swapo still has the support of the people. You know that Swapo is a party of the Ovambo people, who make up 50 percent of the population.”

But Ya Nangoloh disputes the assertion that the results of this election have dispelled the claims of tribalism being rife in Namibia. “No, that is different. The fact that the people have voted for the incumbent president who is not from their tribe it doesn’t mean that they are not tribalists. The people in Swapo will vote for anyone who is leading their party. They don’t mind who is the person leading their party. Even a donkey, they will vote for a donkey if it is the president of Swapo.

“I am also an Ovambo, but the same people hate me and regard me as a traitor because I speak about the rights of other people. They hate me but they accept Geingob because he is working for their interests. Itula is from Onyaanya but he was rejected in his home village because the people view him as an enemy of Swapo. To them he is one of the opposition parties. He is a sellout.”

Ya Nangoloh further said that the highly contested Electoral Voting Machines (EVM) did not have anything to do with the outcome of the elections. “Are the EVMs good when Itula wins in Windhoek but when he loses in the rural areas then suddenly the EVMs are not good? I don’t think there was election rigging.”

Meanwhile Dr Itula has opened a bank account to collect funds from his supporters in order to take their case to court asserting that the elections were rigged. Several political parties, including Swanu of Namibia which is the oldest party in Namibia, are backing him.

Caption: Human rights defender Mr Phil ya Nangoloh