Namibia: White Voters Show Up in Numbers

26 November 2020

PRESIDENT Hage Geingob's remarks about white people yielded results yesterday, as some of the polls countrywide saw more white voters showing up for the regional council and local authority elections than for last year's national elections.

Geingob in October at a Swapo rally charged that white people have "declared war" on Swapo and want to vote for "anything but Swapo".

This was, according to him, despite Swapo making sure they enjoyed peace, unity and comfort for "all this time".

Following this, ombudsman John Walters this week said the president's remarks on the number of white Namibians registering to vote were unifying.

Walters prepared a 'Persistence of Race' report on the issue after the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) lodged a complaint against Geingob in October.

"The objectionable utterances, viewed contextually, were not likely to bring about hatred between different racial groups or between persons belonging to different groups. The objectionable utterances had just the opposite effect of uniting people in their condemnation of the president," the ombudsman said.

A number of white voters yesterday said casting their ballot was important.

Pensioner Nico de Jager, who voted at the Windhoek East constituency, said the process was slow, but he was ready to cast his ballot, saying he was impressed with the voter turnout.

"I am feeling positive because there are so many people in the queue . . . I think voting this time around will make a difference. Last time we were here, there were only 30 people in the queue, and it was faster because there were less people," he said.

Schalk van Greunen, who voted at the Windhoek West constituency, said he is voting to make a difference.

He said it was important to choose the right candidate to address the constituency's challenges, such as building good roads.

"We also want an upgrade of the water pipes in the constituency, because many pipes are bursting on a daily basis," Van Greunen said.

Pippa du Plessis said she came to the polls with her son to encourage him to participate in having a say about his future.

"What we don't like is the fact that the process is so slow, and that we have to use a pencil," an anonymous voter said.

At Okahandja, David Groenewald said he is hoping for change that would see the town creating more jobs for young people, as well as affordable housing.

He said councillors are only seen during campaigning and voting time.

"The problem is that everyone is moving to Windhoek for work, but live at Okahandja. This then pushes up housing prices," Groenewald said.

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