Namibia: Swapo Loses 29 Local Council Seats in the North

An Independent Patriots for Change meeting.
29 November 2020

Swapo has lost 29 local authority seats in twelve town councils and two village councils in northern Namibia to the newly formed Independent Patriots for Change (IPC).

Election results released by the Electoral Commission of Namibia show that the IPC, formed four months ago, has made inroads in several Swapo strongholds.

However, the results also show that Swapo still has strong support in rural constituencies where the majority of voters live in villages.

In towns, the 60-year-old former liberation movement faces resistance especially among young voters who have had less to do with liberation struggle history.

Swapo boasts about its liberation credentials during campaigns, but with the party having become mired in claims of corruption, the IPC, led by expelled Swapo member Panduleni Itula, is a beneficiary of widespread dissatisfaction in the north.

The ruling party's poor showing last week also showed the extent of frustration about poor services in towns and villages where politicians allocate townland to themselves and relatives and friends.

Swapo had six seats in the seven-member Oshakati Town Council before last week's election, but the party has now lost two seats in that local authority council.

The opposition Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) also lost its only seat in the Oshakati Town Council to the IPC, which has won three seats in the council.

The ruling party has lost three seats in the Oniipa Town Council to the IPC as well. Oniipa was previously controlled by Swapo.

Just like at Oshakati, the ruling party lost two seats to the IPC in the Ondangwa Town Council.

PDM also lost its only seat at Ondangwa.

Swapo lost three seats to the IPC in both the Ongwediva and Omuthiya town councils as well.

With four seats in each of the local authority councils at Oshakati, Ondangwa, Ongwediva, Omuthiya, Oniipa and Tsumeb, Swapo still has a majority in each of those councils.

At Eenhana, Ruacana, Oshikuku, Outapi, Okahao and Tsumeb, Swapo lost two seats in each town to the IPC.

The IPC also won one seat in each of the Helao Nafidi Town Council, Tsandi Village Council and Okongo Village Council.

Swapo's Oshana regional coordinator, Samuel Nelongo, has told The Namibian he was happy with the election results in his region.

"Overall, I am a happy coordinator as we did what was expected from us by the regional leadership," Nelongo said. "I congratulate our sections, branch leaders and Swapo foot soldiers for the job well done."

Contacted for comment, PDM deputy secretary general Linus Tobias, who is also the party's councillor in the Oshakati Town Council, said the party lost seats due to the formation of the IPC.

"When a new party is formed from Swapo, it always takes votes from existing parties. It happened with Congress of Democrats (CoD) and Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP).

"When a wind blows and you're not firm, you are likely to be carried away. That's what happened to our people," he said.

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