February 16, 2004

Swapo wins, heavy loss for DTA in Grootfontein by-election

Swapo wins, heavy loss for DTA in Grootfontein by-election

Swapo has retained the Grootfontein Regional Councillor seat in the by-election comfortably with a smaller percentage of the votes than before, according to the poll results. The outcome of the by-election was a disaster for the DTA - once a strong political force in the Grootfontein area. It ended in fourth place among the five parties contesting the poll. The candidate of one of the recent breakaway parties from the DTA, the National Unity Democratic Organisation's Augustinus Mbakunguna, managed to pull more votes as the DTA's candidate Edgard Francis, the DTA was coming out of the by-election with the worst result it has ever registered in an election at Grootfontein. A former DTA affiliate that broke away from the party last year, the Republican Party, ended in fifth place. The DTA and both its breakaway former affiliates scored in the region of 400-plus votes each; but even their combined tally still placed them behind the Congress of Democrats, which the DTA had narrowly beaten in their previous election match-up at Grootfontein.

In contrast to the DTA's flagging fortunes, the results were much more positive for the CoD. Its candidate, Titus Boois, ended in second place, more than doubling the number of votes that his party received in its only previous test at Grootfontein's ballot boxes, in the national elections of late 1999. The CoD also increased its share of the vote - from the 12 per cent of the total votes it had received in the constituency in 1999, to 19 per cent of the total in Thursday's by-election. Swapo candidate, Peter Kawana, won the election with some 60,3 per cent of the vote. However, for the ruling party it was the lowest percentage of the votes that it has pulled at Grootfontein since the national elections at the end of 1994.

In Grootfontein, 53,2 per cent of the constituency's registered electorate went to the polls - a major improvement on the 27 per cent turnout in the 1998 Regional Council election there. (The Namibian, Windhoek)


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