Namibia: Neff Basks in Election Showing

The Namibian Economic Freedom Fighters' national coordinator Kalimbo Iipumbu hailed the party's showing in last week's National Assembly elections, in which the party secured two seats.

This, he said, marks the beginning of hard work.

"It has been difficult taking part in national issues and reaching marginalised communities without any funds from the state. We are going to concentrate on the agenda to liberate our people economically," he added.

Iipumbu said the party will focus on improving the policies that are driving people into poverty, and liberate them from economic enslavement.

Furthermore, the resolutions from the second land conference must be implemented, and these will be among the many issues they will push for during their time in parliament, he vowed.

"It's a milestone for the NEFF party. It's a breakthrough, and we can now cover areas we could not reach. We are grateful to the Namibian nation for putting their trust in us. We shall deliver and not disappoint," he stressed.

Meanwhile, shortly after the announcement of results on Saturday, young and old celebrated Swapo's victory at the party's offices at Oshakati.

Party supporters said they were happy that they had won, and wished president Hage Geingob strength to lead the country.

"The battle was not easy, but victory was certain," former Oshakati mayor Katrina Shimbulu stated.

Shimbulu urged other parties which contested the elections to cooperate with Swapo to build a better Namibia.

Political analysts have, on the other hand, questioned the manner in which the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) handled the elections.

The ECN has had a nightmare on its hands through these elections, mainly due to its lack of transparency, analysts have said.

Political analyst Rachel Andreas believes the ECN failed in the entire execution of the elections.

"They failed in that regard. There were a lot of shortcomings. Look at the results as they are, and there are results for about seven to eight constituencies for the National Assembly and presidential elections that are unaccounted for. This could affect the overall totals for the different political parties and the presidential candidates," she stated.

By noon yesterday, the ECN had not updated the election results on their website to reflect the outstanding results.

The website showed that 94,24% of the National Assembly results had been declared from 114 out of 121 constituencies. The site also showed that 96,72% of results from 117 out of 121 constituencies in the presidential elections had been declared.

The long delays and the silence have fuelled fake news and conspiracy theories.

"It seems the ECN has learnt little from the experiences of five years ago when they faced similar criticisms, although the delays were not as bad then. The 'EVMs falling off a trailer' saga typifies their approach to public relations - it's all about keeping quiet, and hoping the problem will go away. Then they are surprised when the story emerges two years later to embarrass them," said Graham Hopwood, the executive director of the Institute for Public Policy Research. Andreas attributed the ECN's silence on issues to the absence of a clear communications strategy.

"When things go wrong and things go quiet, you give ground for suspicions to grow. I felt like the ECN's lack of communication allowed disinformation to thrive because there was a plethora of fake news from all over the country. And if they had just come out and said 'this is the hiccup we are experiencing, this is the issue that is holding us back,' I think it would have gone a long way in building trust, instead of just being quiet."

The Namibian attempted to contact ECN public relations officer Vikitoria Hango, but her phone was off the whole day.

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