ROUNDUP: SWAPO, POHAMBA WIN NAMIBIA ELECTIONS BY LANDSLIDES

Namibia’s ruling SWAPO party clinched its fifth straight landslide election victory in last week’s Presidential and Parliamentary elections, in which President Hifikepunye Pohamba also trounced his rivals, the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) announced on Friday evening.

SWAPO won 74 per cent of the vote against 11.4 per cent for the newly formed Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), the ECN said.

The RDP, which was formed by former Cabinet Minister Hidipo Hamutenya and other former SWAPO stalwarts two years ago, had been expected to make far greater inroads, but still becomes the official opposition of the desert country.

The RDP has said it suspects the ECN of tampering with the results, saying the slow counting of votes from the 27-28 November vote made it suspicious.

The RDP and seven other opposition parties said they would institute legal action against the ECN for alleged irregularities.

“We are not going to attend the final announcement of the results, because we are not prepared to legitimize a rigged election,” the party’s information Secretary Libolly Haufiku told the German Press Agency DPA.

In the Presidential poll, President Pohamba won a little over 76 per cent of the vote, giving him a second five-year term.

Hamutenya trailed in second place with around 10 per cent. Following the result, President Pohamba appealed to his rivals “to work together for our people – for Social and Economic Development.”

The ECN insists the counting process was done in accordance with the law and that the verification process was slow because it wanted to ensure that it published the correct results.

The former liberation movement SWAPO has ruled Namibia, an impoverished country of around 2 million people, since independence from apartheid South Africa in 1990.

Despite rising corruption and the slow pace of development, the party is popular among many voters for maintaining peace and stability among the 13 ethnic groupings in the country.

(www.sapa.org.za; 20091204)

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