The race is on for the Keetmanshoop by-election

Martin Endjala

The pressure is on for the five candidates contesting in the Keetmanshoop Rural Constituency by-election that will take place on Monday.

The fate of the candidates will be decided when the electorate will go to the polling stations to vote for a suitable new representative on the constituency council.

The seat became vacant after the Landless People’s Movement expelled Gerrit Witbooi on 14 February. The country’s election laws dictate that a by-election must be held within 90 days after a vacancy occurs.

Witbooi fell out of favour with LPM when he reportedly refused to follow the party’s directive on which candidate to appoint to a senior position at the //Kharas Regional Council.

Witbooi was the first to announce that he will be standing in as an Independent Candidate for the same constituency position.

In an interview with this publication, Witbooi said that he is confident that he will win the by-elections, given his well-connected relationship with the constituency and the work he has done for the community thus far.

With an eagerness to continue his work, he noted saying that the billion-dollar project in Klein Karas, is a testament to what he can do for his community.

“I do not want to talk and talk, but I want to speak with my actions because a lot has been promised and a lot has been said, this person is tired and wants to see changes as in like yesterday, and this is why I have full confidence that I will emerge as a winner”.

The other four candidates vying for the by-elections is Elias !Kharuxab of the Swapo Party, who also contested for the same constituency in the 2020 regional and local authority elections and lost to Witbooi.

Magdalena van Staden of the Independent Patriots of Change, Willem Labuschagne from LPM and Johannes Eiman of the Popular Democratic Movement.

Furthermore, LPM Leader Bernadus Swartbooi during the announcement of the party Candidate, said that Labuschagne is not only about talk but a man of plans and results, who also have a long history in agriculture and is a person of the people.

Meanwhile, !Kharuxab reiterated that if voted into power, he will address the issue of citizens paying for rates and taxes at the Keetmanshoop municipality, which falls under the Keetmanshoop Urban constituency and will also approach the demarcation committee to address the matter.

Eiman was quoted in a local paper saying that he is confident and capable to lead any community and one of his primary objectives as a prospective regional Councillor, is to aggressively engage the local business community and investors.

“If unemployed residents are trained in the fields of entrepreneurship, financial management and agriculture-and livestock farming, it can already assist the government halfway in addressing existing socio-economic challenges. “Once I am in office as the successful candidate, I will make this a priority”, he said.

During the party’s rally in Aroab in the Kharas Region MchenryVanaani told the gathering that his party remains relevant and continues to play its part in the country’s political landscape, adding that residents of the constituency are among the most vulnerable and neglected and thus opining that if party elected, it will see to it that the plight of the residents is uplifted.

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