Vote counting is underway in Namibia after polling ran on late into the night in a general election expected to loosen the ruling party’s hold on power.
Namibians went to the polls on Wednesday for its presidential and legislative elections.
President Hage Geingob’s South West Africa People’s (SWAPO) party has ruled the country since independence from South Africa in 1990.
Though the ruling party SWAPO still enjoys massive popularity, President Geingob is predicted to lose votes to an independent candidate, Dr Panduleni Itula who himself was a member of SWAPO.
The breakaway candidate is particularly popular among the Namibian youths seeking for a change in government.
The electoral commission has refused to state when provisional results will be released.
But in the last election in 2014, provisional results were announced one day after voting.
By late Thursday morning, parliamentary results started appearing on the electoral commission of Namibia website – showing only four out of 121 constituencies.
In 2014, Geingob won a sweeping 87 per cent of the vote, while runner-up and second-time runner McHenry Venaani racked up less than five per cent.
Streets were quiet in Namibia’s capital Windhoek as residents slowly went back to their daily occupations.
Although election day was peaceful, the voting process was slow and had people queueing outside for hours.
Polling stations remained open late into the night to process voters who had arrived before the 9 pm cut-off time.
“Frustratingly slow”, blasted the front page of the Namibian Sun. “Election littered with glitches.”
“Faulty EVMs, delays as Namibia votes”, echoed The Namibian.
Several voters complained about the delays.
“Everything went well, but it’s only that most people…were complaining about the EVM,” said 52-year old bank employee Alfred Siukuta, buying a newspaper on his way to work.
“We are used to voting normally, crossing out on paper and all that,” he told media, adding that he waited all afternoon and only voted after 11 pm (2100 GMT).
Some, like street vendor Eunike Ijonda gave up and went home.
“People voted until two o’clock, but me because I have small kids at home I can’t,” said the 38-year old, peeling onions behind her makeshift stall.
Ijonda said she stood in line for three hours without moving after one of the machines at her polling station broke down.
“The other year was faster,” she added.
“I am disappointed, I want the government to change and make voting two days.”
Around 1.4 million of Namibia’s 2.45 million inhabitants were registered to vote. Half were under 37 and around a third born after 1990.
Average voter turnout for past elections is around 76 per cent.