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Cablegate: Namibia: Opposition Contests Final Election Results

VZCZCXRO0578
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHWD #0453/01 3421527
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 081527Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY WINDHOEK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0900
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 WINDHOEK 000453

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM WA
SUBJECT: NAMIBIA: OPPOSITION CONTESTS FINAL ELECTION RESULTS

REF: A. WINDHOEK 441
B. WINDHOEK 433
C. WINDHOEK 401
D. WINDHOEK 377

-------
Summary
-------

1. (SBU) After six days of counting, tabulating, and
verifying votes, the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN)
issued its final results for the November 27-28 2009
Presidential and National Assembly (parliamentary) elections
late on December 4. The ruling SWAPO party and the incumbent
President Hifikepunye Pohamba won with an overwhelming
majority of the votes 75 and 76 percent respectively. These
percentages precisely mirror SWAPO's results of 2004. The
Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), which was formed in
2007 by some breakaway senior members of SWAPO, won 11
percent of the vote and will become the official opposition.
The RDP claims that ECN manipulated the election results.
Nine opposition parties have joined the RDP in taking the
ECN to court to contest the results. Turnout nationwide was
a bit lower than in 2004, but there is wide variability in
turnout figures across constituencies and regions. Many
SWAPO strongholds actually saw sizable increases in turnout,
while areas where SWAPO is less popular saw decreases. The
President and the new National Assembly will be sworn in on
March 21, 2010. End Summary.

-----------------------------
Presidential Election Results
-----------------------------

2. (SBU) The incumbent President Hifikepunye Pohamba, of the
ruling SWAPO party, won with an overwhelming majority of the
votes (76.4 percent). Coincidentally, this percentage
mirrors precisely his tally in 2004. Hidipo Hamutenya of the
Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), Pohamba's chief
rival, garnered 11 percent of the vote. No other candidate
received more than three percent.

2009 Presidential Election Results

Party Candidate Votes Percent
-----------------------------------
SWAPO Pohamba 611,241 76.4%
RDP Hamutenya 88,640 11.0%
DTA Kaura 24,186 3.0%
NUDO Riruako 23,735 2.9%
UDF Garoeb 19,258 2.4%
APP Shixwameni 9,981 1.3%
RP Mudge 9,425 1.2%
COD Ulenga 5,812 0.7%
SWANU Maamberua 2,968 0.4%
DPN Isaacs 1,859 0.2%
NMDC Goagoseb 1,760 0.2%
CP Beukes 1,005 0.1%
===================================
Total 799,870


National Assembly Election Results
----------------------------------

3. (SBU) SWAPO received 75 percent of the vote for the
National Assembly, also matching its tally of 2004. RDP
picked up 11 percent of the National Assembly votes making it
the new official opposition party, taking the mantle away
from the Congress of Democrats (CoD). The CoD finished
eighth amongst the 14 parties that contested for the National
Assembly. Given that SWAPO's winning percentage was
unchanged, the RDP's success at the polls appears to have
come at the expense of the traditional opposition parties.

2009 National Assembly Election Results

Party Votes Percent
---------------------------------
SWAPO 602,580 75.3%
RDP 90,556 11.3%
DTA 25,393 3.1%
NUDO 24,422 3.0%
UDF 19,489 2.4%
APP 10,795 1.4%
RP 6,541 0.8%
COD 5,375 0.7%
SWANU 4,989 0.6%
MAG 4,718 0.6%
DPN 1,942 0.2%
NDMC 1,770 0.2%
NDP 1,187 0.2%

WINDHOEK 00000453 002 OF 003


CP 810 0.1%
================================
Total 800,567


---------------------------------
National Assembly Seat Allocation
---------------------------------

4. (SBU) Despite its strong showing, due to the formula that
dictates how seats in the National Assembly are allocated,
SWAPO will actually have one less seat (54 instead of 55) in
the parliament. Nevertheless, it will retain its two-thirds
majority. The RDP and APP will enter Parliament for the
first time with eight and one seats respectively. The COD
will lose four of its five seats (only retaining one seat).
The United Democratic Front (UDF) and Namibian Unity
Democratic Organization (NUDO) had three seats in the
National Assembly, but both lost a seat and will be down to
two members of parliament each come March 2010. The
Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA), the dominant opposition
party at Namibia's independence, which has four seats in the
current National Assembly, continued its decline and will
lose half of its representation in the next National
Assembly. The Monitor Action Group (MAG) which had one seat
in the National Assembly, will be absent from the next
parliament. The South West Africa National Union (SWANU)
party, one of Namibia's oldest political parties, picked up a
seat although it only registered 0.45 percent of the vote.

New National Assembly Seats

Party 2004 2009 Loss/Gain
--------------------------------
APP X 1 1
COD 5 1 -4
DTA 4 2 -2
MAG 1 0 -1
NUDO 3 2 -1
RDP X 8 8
RP 1 1 0
SWANU 0 1 1
SWAPO 55 54 -1
UDF 3 2 -1
=================================
Total 72 72


Women will only make up 22 percent of the seats in the new
National Assembly, down from 33 percent. This falls well
below the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) goal
of 50 percent. This percentage could change, however,
depending on whom the President selects to fill 6 non-voting
parliamentary seats.

------------------------------------
Party Performance Around the Country
------------------------------------

5. (SBU) SWAPO performed well across the country. SWAPO
beat all the other parties in every region and won 50 percent
or more of the vote in 10 out of the 13 regions. Only in
Omaheke, Hardap, and Kunene regions did SWAPO not win an
absolute majority. In those regions, NUDO and UDF - parties
that have historically seen regional but not national support
- performed well as expected. SWAPO polled 90 percent or
better in Oshikoto, Oshana , Ohangwena and Omusati regions.
In Omusati, SWAPO garnered 97.3 percent of the vote. RDP was
not able to make significant in-roads into these four regions
which is the heartland of the Owambo, Namibia's largest
ethnic group. The Owambo people are considered SWAPO's
strongest base of support. Hidipo Hamutenya, RDP's candidate
for President, previously a senior SWAPO official, is himself
Owambo (Ovakwanyama clan, the same as President Pohamba), so
RDP supporters had hoped their party would do well in
"Owamboland."

---------------------------------
Opposition Protesting the Results
---------------------------------

6. (SBU) All but three opposition parties have joined in a
movement to contest the election results and are taking the
ECN to court. The unusually long time it took the ECN to
count and verify the votes (over six days rather the normal
four) has led opposition parties to suspect there was some
form of manipulation of the election results. RDP senior
official Libolly Haufiku told the Ambassador that the joint
opposition case would be heard by the High Court on December
11. Haufiku claims that the RDP has proof and witnesses that
can testify to massive rigging at election verification
centers (where polling stations take their results after

WINDHOEK 00000453 003 OF 003


counting) and during subsequent audits. Opposition parties
will hold peaceful demonstrations throughout the country on
December 11, Haufiku asserted.

-------------
Voter Turnout
-------------

7. (SBU) Voter turnout was down by 2.3 percent nationwide,
with sizable declines in eight of Namibia's 13 regions.
However, in the SWAPO strongholds of Oshikoto, Oshana,
Ohangwena and Omusati turnout increased sharply, a total of
over 38,000 votes. SWAPO actually received over 17,300 less
votes than in 2004, but because of lower turnout nationwide,
its performance (percentage-wise) remained the same.

-------
Comment
-------

8. (SBU) Opposition parties may point to the much higher
vote counts in SWAPO strongholds as evidence of election
manipulation. Rumors are that SWAPO may have paid and
registered Angolans to vote on its behalf in Oshikoto,
Oshana, Ohangwena and Omusati regions. Although a few
Angolans were found with voter identification cards prior to
the elections, and some voters could have voted twice due to
some irregularities, it is not clear whether these issues
will form part of the opposition's court case. Since Namibia
allows people to cast their votes anywhere in the nation, it
is conceivable to have large swings in voting patterns.
Furthermore, some increases in turnout could be explained by
shifts in demographics in certain regions and constituencies.
Nevertheless, the differences in voter turnout may receive
closer analytical scrutiny.

9. (SBU) Post had 16 people observe polling stations in six
regions on November 27-28. From our observation, voting took
place in a peaceful environment. While we noticed some
irregularities during the voting, we do not know the
magnitude of the occurrences. Certainly there was some
intimidation in the lead up to the elections, and there was
not a level playing field with regard to access to the media.
While regional bodies such as SADC and the African Union
(AU) were quick to call the elections free, fair and
transparent, we now have to wait and see what information
opposition parties present to the courts. Hopefully the
courts will reach a quick decision before Namibia heads into
its traditional "Festive Season," when most of the country
shuts down from December 15 to January 15. End Comment.
MATHIEU

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