Back to Africa Check

Namibia’s ruling party didn’t lose Kavango region ‘terribly’ in independence election

As Namibia gears up for its sixth round of elections since independence, President Hage Geingob has been travelling the country to connect with voters.

The Namibian Sun newspaper reported on such a meeting at Khorixas in the Kunene region on 14 August 2019. At the event, the president claimed his party Swapo (formerly the South West Africa People’s Organisation) had lost the former Kavango region in the 1989 independence election.

“We googled – we like to research things – just to look at the first elections, the results in Kavango, who say they voted for Swapo. It’s not true, it was terrible. We lost Kavango, basically, terribly. The DTA was stronger,” the president said in a recording provided to Africa Check by the journalists. 

The DTA, or Democratic Turnhalle Alliance, is today the Popular Democratic Movement, Namibia’s official opposition.

Namibian Sun then debunked the claim: “However, the election results in Kavango showed that 27,256 people had voted for Swapo, while 22,046 had cast their ballots for the DTA.” (Note: The Kavango region has since been split into Kavango East and Kavango West.)

Was the president wrong and Namibian Sun right?

Swapo won by clear majority


The Electoral Commission of Namibia’s website does not carry the result of the November 1989 vote. Africa Check found it on page 52 of the post-election edition of the Namibia Handbook and Political Who’s Who

It shows that Swapo won the then Kavango region by a clear majority in the independence election. The numbers – 27,256 votes for Swapo and 22,046 votes for the DTA – quoted by Namibian Sun are correct.

Presidential press secretary Alfredo Hengari did not respond to repeated requests for comment on our finding.



Namibia’s 1989 election results*
DistrictsACNDTASWAPOUDF
Bethanie258115339869
Maltahohe355579758334
Karibib344163719321,289
Mariental1,3196,5842,411878
Omaruru1982,5381,022499
Tsumeb8483,4526,4761,085
Hereroland448,4401,83558
Outjo7192,6589841,186
Okahanoja6113,6723,256993
Luderitz4531,8905,422342
Keetmanshoop1,3128,2294,7781,314
Kaokoland336,6991,02541
Rehoboth966,5902,460326
Damaraland1402,0403,4076,944
Caprivi8612,7829,350514
Karasburg3,5887,7271,830651
Gobabis1,80110,5392,119374
Swakopmund1,0204,99811,4791,400
Otjiwarongo6264,2743,1941,540
Grootfontein1,4187,2265,3361,094
Windhoek4,15330,47539,0606,147
Kavango40722,04627,2561,202
Ovambo2479,200196,1694,674
Total23,728191,532384,56737,874
Seats321414

* Only parties that won more than one seat are included.

This fact-check was produced as part of an Africa Check fellowship completed by Frederico Links, editor of Namibia Fact Check.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters