Swakop office-bearers election postponed after mayoral vote tie

TIE… Councillors nominating the position of mayor during the 2023 Swakopmund office-bearers election on Thursday (30 November). Photo: Adam Hartman

Swakopmund’s 2024 office-bearers election, which took place yesterday, was postponed following two consecutive tied votes for the seat of mayor.

This situation arose as per the Local Authorities Act, which mandates a tiebreaker vote in the event of a tie.

If a second tie occurs, it necessitates postponing the election, according to presiding magistrate Lucia Elishi.

The deadlock disrupted the anticipated mayoral appointment of Swakopmund Residents Association (SRA) representative Matthias Henrichsen.

According to a prior agreement, the town council coalition, which includes the SRA, the Independent Patriots for Change (IPC), and the Landless People’s Movement (LPM), has nominated Henrichsen for 2024.

The agreement, signed last week by the SRA and IPC, emerged after the 2020 local authority elections.

The coalition comprises six members: three from the IPC, two from the SRA, and one from the LPM.

This arrangement was to allow a proportional sharing of the mayoral role, with the IPC holding it for three years, followed by one year each for the SRA and the LPM.

UNITED… Witnessing the signing ceremony of the coalition agreement for the Swakopmund Municipal Council positions with John Hopkins, SRA chairperson, and IPC regional chairperson Aloysius Kangulu, are councillors Wilfried Groenewald (far left) and Matthias Henrichsen (far right). Photo: Contributed

Dina Namubes of the IPC, having served for the past three years, was expected to pass the chain to Henrichsen.

Subsequently, in 2025, LPM council member Blasius Goraseb was slated to assume the role.

Before the election, SRA chairperson John Hopkins expressed optimism about the coalition’s potential to set a collaborative example for other Namibian towns.

“We look forward to continue working together and being an example to other towns in Namibia if we can try and put our differences aside and work together for the benefit of the whole community,” he said.

However, the plan hit a snag when only eight of the 10 council members attended the election.

The nominations for mayor led to a tie between Henrichsen and Namubes, with each receiving three votes and two ‘no’ votes.

Elishi conducted a tiebreaker vote, which resulted in another tie.

Consequently, Elishi announced the postponement of the election to a future date.

SRA councillor and chairman of the management committee Wilfried Groenewald expressed disappointment and indicated a need for further deliberations.

“Not sure when the next election will be,” he said.

Goraseb lauded the past three years of coalition efficacy, noting significant community-focused changes at Swakopmund.

IPC regional chairperson Aloysius Kangulu declined to discuss specifics, emphasising confidentiality on central issues.

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