News and Information

Vote buying alleged in the Caprivi
November 18, 2004

THE Swapo Regional Council candidate in the most opposition-inclined constituency in the Caprivi Region is accused of vote buying after he was witnessed dishing out wads of cash to party agents and election officials in the constituency this week.

Felix Mukupi, who is the ruling party's candidate in the Sibbinda constituency for the Regional Council elections that are to take place in two weeks' time, "dished out on two different occasions large quantities of money to party agents, police officers and Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) officials alike, in (an) apparent attempt to rig the elections in the said constituency," the National Society for Human Rights stated yesterday in a press release based on a report from a Caprivi-based election observer attached to the human rights organisation.

The Namibian itself also witnessed one of the incidents where Mukupi thrust money into an election official's hands.

This took place at a polling station in the village Malundu, some 50 kilometres south of Katima Mulilo, on Tuesday afternoon.

After Mukupi was observed handing over N$200 to an election official, The Namibian's reporter approached Mukupi to get an explanation of the transaction from him.

Mukupi jovially introduced himself as "Doctor General", which is apparently a nickname that he likes to go by, but soon launched into an aggressive, racially tainted tirade, ranting on about "boers", telling this reporter to "go back to America", and eventually threatening:"I'll fu*k you up."

The people in that area were his people, and he helped them whenever he saw them hungry, he claimed during the exchange.

Another effort to reach Mukupi for further comment did not succeed yesterday.

He was said to be in the Sibbinda area, where votes that had been cast in that constituency were being counted at Sibbinda village.

Mukupi had also handed money to an unidentified Special Field Force member, elections officials and DTA party agents at the village of Kanono near Malundu earlier on Tuesday, the NSHR claimed further.

The organisation's election observer reported that he found "a dancing and drinking party" in progress at the Kanono voting point when he returned there by about 20h15 on Tuesday, and that these festivities - at a time when the polling station was still supposed to be open for voting for another 45 minutes - were hastily called to order by the presiding officer once she had seen the observer's ECN credentials.

Mukupi is a businessman at Katima Mulilo.

His Njangula Security Services company is said to hold a number of large Government contracts to provide security guards at State-owned buildings.

He also conducts a cash-loans business at Katima Mulilo.

In past elections, the constituency in which Mukupi is standing was the most heavily opposition-supporting of the Caprivi Region's six constituencies.

In the 1999 National Assembly elections, the Congress of Democrats received 77,7 per cent of the votes there, compared to 16,3 per cent of the votes that went to Swapo.

Only in the 1998 Regional Council elections did Swapo win a majority of the votes at Sibbinda.

However, that election took place in the shadow of a record low five per cent voter turnout, when 201 votes were all it took to secure the constituency for the ruling party's candidate.

The 1998 poll had taken place in the wake of the political turmoil that hit the region with the exodus of most of the region's DTA leadership, who sought refuge in Botswana after their involvement in a plan to secede the Caprivi Region from Namibia was alleged to have been uncovered.

At that stage the then Governor of the region, John Mabuku, was the DTA-affiliated Regional Councillor from Sibbinda, where he had won 86 per cent of the vote in the first Regional Council elections of 1992.


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