Namibia: Itula Submits Bid to Run for President

9 October 2019

Windhoek — Aspiring independent presidential candidate Dr Panduleni Itula yesterday submitted his nomination to the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN).

The former Swapo Party School lecturer personally submitted his nomination file to the chairperson of the ECN Advocate Notemba Tjipueja.

According to the Electoral Act, an independent candidate can be nominated to contest the presidential elections, provided that the nomination is supported by at least 500 registered voters per region.

Chief Electoral Officer Theo Mujoro said the ECN would now scrutinise the nomination of Itula before he can be registered as a candidate. "Itula's submission doesn't mean that he is duly nominated. Nomination will come later, what is going to happen now is up to us to scrutinise his application, to see whether names submitted are of registered voters, the nomination will only happen on October 18," Mujoro said.

If given the go-ahead, Itula will become the first independent candidate to contest the presidential elections in an independent Namibia.

The phenomenon of independent candidates has been gathering steam in recent months, with two independents contesting the Ondangwa Urban and Oshakati East by-elections this year.

At Oshakati East, Swapo candidate Abner Shikongo scored a landslide victory against independent candidate Fiina Kuutondokwa, who came in second.

Angeline Immanuel, a 27-year-old who stood as an independent candidate, surprised many when she garnered 1 402 votes against 1 936 of that of eventual winner Leonard Negonga of Swapo during the Ondangwa Urban by-election.

In 2015, Otjombinde Constituency Councillor Katjanaa Kaurivi made history when he stood and won an election for the first time in the country's history as an independent candidate.

Kaurivi, still a Swapo card-carrying member, decided to run as an independent candidate in the 2015 regional council elections after the outcome of disputed Swapo primaries, in which he lost the party candidature to then Otjombinde Constituency Councillor Karii Marenga.

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