The Namibian (Windhoek)

Namibia: First Poll Results Known

THE Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) yesterday refused to give reporters a breakdown of the first votes cast in this year's National Assembly and presidential elections by about 900 Namibians at 24 diplomatic missions abroad.

It also flatly refused to divulge the results of votes cast by seafarers at Walvis Bay and Lüd-eritz, although these were pasted on the outside of polling stations.

The Namibian has however obtained some preliminary results, which have yet to be formally endorsed, from unconfirmed sources.

Namibians abroad and seagoing personnel cast their votes on Friday.

Two trends appear to have emerged.

Seagoing personnel gave President Hifike-punye Pohamba and his Swapo Party a strong lead in the presidential and National Assembly elections, while voting abroad showed a tighter contest.

In South Africa, ballots were cast in Pretoria and in Cape Town.

In Pretoria, Swapo received 53 votes for the National Assembly, the RDP received 21 votes and the RP got four votes.

President Hifikepunye Pohamba (Swapo) garnered 57 votes, RDP presidential candidate Hidipo Hamutenya 19 votes and Henk Mudge (RP) received five votes.

In Cape Town, Swapo and the RDP were neck and neck, with Swapo receiving 38 votes, only three more than the RDP, which received 35 votes.

In the presidential race, votes cast in Cape Town saw Pohamba and Hamutenya only four votes apart with Pohamba (Swapo) receiving 41 votes and Hamutenya 37, preliminary results show.

Results for other political parties from South Africa could not be obtained yesterday.

In New York, USA, a similar picture evolved with Swapo receiving 24 votes for the NA elections, the RDP 22 votes and Nudo three.

For the presidential elections, President Pohamba got 31 votes, Hamutenya of RDP got 17, DTA candidate Katuutire Kaura one, and Chief Kuaima Riruako of Nudo got three votes.

In Botswana, the 24 voters gave Swapo 16 votes for the National Assembly elections, six for the RDP and one for RP. Votes for the presidential elections came to 17 for incumbent President Hifikepunye Pohamba (Swapo) and seven for RDP president Hidipo Hamutenya.

No details for the other political parties were available from Botswana.

In Brussels, Belgium, Swapo received 10 votes for the NA election, the RDP six and RP one.

In the presidential race, President Pohamba of Swapo got 10 votes, Hamutenya (RDP) 6 votes and the Communist Party candidate one vote.

In London, Britain, preliminary results were as follows: NA election - Swapo 20 votes, RDP nine, and Nudo, CoD, DTA and UDF one vote each. In the presidential election President Pohamba (Swapo) received 22 votes, Hamutenya of the RDP seven votes and the candidates of Nudo, CoD, DTA and UDF one vote each.

In Moscow, Russia, unconfirmed sources said Swapo received 25 votes for the NA elections, the RDP six and Nudo one. No figures for the presidential election could be obtained.

The only figures ECN Chairman Victor Tonchi would release yesterday were that 1 061 Namibians voted at all 24 diplomatic missions abroad for the NA election.

Two ballots were spoilt. Exactly 1 065 Namibians abroad cast their ballots in the presidential election on Friday, with three ballots spoilt.

SEAFARERS

Although about 7 000 seafarers were expected to vote, only about 2 200 cast their votes at the two polling stations at Walvis Bay and one at Lüderitz.

According to the Erongo Co-ordinator for the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN), Johannes Kapembe, 1 402 seafarers arrived at the two polls in Walvis Bay.

Of these, 1 131 voted for Hifikepunye Pohamba as President, while Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) president Hidipo Hamutenya garnered the second highest number of votes - 206.

In the National Assembly election, the Swapo Party got 1 126 votes, followed by the RDP's 209.

At Lüderitz, the exact number of voters that arrived at the polling station could not be given by ECN's Karas Co-ordinator Berendt Both, although "just over 800" voted, according to him.

Here too, Swapo emerged as the majority in both elections.

The Namibian contacted several ECN officials for exact figures yesterday, but these could not be provided.

Preliminary figures on Saturday evening suggested that Pohamba received 605 votes against second-place candidate Hamutenya's 73. The Swapo Party got 606 votes compared to RDP's 73, according to the preliminary results.

According to Kapembe, the polls at Walvis Bay closed at 21h00 and the voters who were there at the time were accommodated.

"All those queuing had a fair chance to vote. We did not have to show anyone away because of the cut-off time," he told The Namibian.

However, several were sent away during the day because their names did not appear on the crew lists their employers had given to ECN officials.

"We requested these voters to return to their employers and get an official letter, with a letterhead, in which they are positively identified as workers of a specific company, and also that they will not be here to vote on November 27 and 28," he said.

Although the polls closed at 21h00 and counting started at 21h30, the votes had to be counted twice, according to Kapembe.

As a result, the results were only available at around noon on Saturday.

"It's a long process, but we had to make double sure that all the votes were fairly accounted for; and we are therefore very satisfied with the outcome," he said.

He said the "biggest success" of Friday's vote was that no ballot paper was rejected and that every voter's vote was accounted for. The biggest challenge, he said, was other voters who also wanted to make use of the opportunity for seagoing workers, claiming they would not be able to vote on November 27 and 28. "We could not accommodate them because we are not empowered to," said Kapembe.

"That's something they would have to sort out with the ECN directorate."

Brigitte Weidlich in Windhoek, Adam Hartman at Walvis Bay and Luqman Cloete at Keetmanshoop

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