Striking seafarers have no objection to voting

22 Nov 2015 15:10pm
SWAKOPMUND, 22 NOV (NAMPA) – The more than 1 000 fishermen currently on an illegal strike at Walvis Bay and Lüderitz will turn up for the Regional Council and Local Authority Elections on 27 November 2015.
The group's spokesperson, Immanuel Petrus told Nampa upon enquiry on Sunday the group does not have any intentions to stay away from the elections.
The workers are demanding payment of overtime, as well as payment on Sundays and public holidays.
The fishermen have however turned down an agreement which proposed to provide them with such benefits two weeks ago.
According to Petrus the agreement was not done in consultation with the workers, hence the strike is continuing.
Special voting for seagoing workers, polling officials, police officers and other citizens who applied for permission to vote takes place on Monday (23 November).
“This strike has nothing to do with politics, we do not want to disturb our democracy. I therefore assure you that we are ready to vote so that we can exercise our rights and demand services,” he said.
Speaking from Lüderitz, Petrus said the workers will not return to sea until their demands are met.
This could mean almost all of them will vote on 27 November as they will still be on strike.
One of the striking seafarers at Walvis Bay, Overberg Kanyama said he will go and vote because it is his right.
“We do not have a problem with the elections. If the companies give us what we want before 23 November then I might return to work and not wait for elections on 27 November,” Kanyama said.
Matheus Lungameni, also from the Walvis Bay striking group, confirmed that he will be participating in the elections.
“Every morning we gather at Kuisebmond Sport Stadium but on election day, we do not expect anyone to come because we should go vote,” he said.
The Electoral Commission of Namibia’s (ECN) elections coordinator for the Erongo Region, Kashidinge Lukas Nghipuilepo said everything is in place for special elections in his region.
“What we need to clarify is that only people who applied and were allowed to go vote can vote, the rest of the people can wait for 27 November 2015”.
There are close to 300 people who applied and were allowed to vote in the special elections in the Erongo Region.
In Swakopmund, voters can cast their votes at Tamariskia Hall while in Walvis Bay, they can do so at the Kuisebmond Community Hall.
Erongo has 106 246 registered voters expected to participate in the elections.
Namibia has 95 constituencies and 52 local authorities, where 1 267 892 registered voters are expected to vote.