Kabbe South constituency councillor John Likando has bemoaned the Electoral Commission of Namibia’s decision to reduce the number of supplementary registration points for the upcoming regional council and local authority elections in his area of jurisdiction to only two.
The ECN regional coordinator held a stakeholder meeting with political parties and other stakeholders on Tuesday to update participants on the preparedness of the ECN for the conduct of the supplementary registration of voters (SRV) and solicit inputs from all stakeholders present.
In terms of the number of registration points for the Kabbe South constituency, there are three mobile teams that will be visiting 18 registration points.
Likando said surprisingly, it was during this meeting that the ECN regional coordinator informed the people in attendance of the financial constraints that ECN faces and as the result, supplementary registration points have been cut from the original submission to only two of which the constituency centre is a must.
“Given the geographical nature of Kabbe South constituency, this situation will not impact much on the exercise to be undertaken. Two points will not serve the purpose of free and fair elections. I for one feel that the Muzii, Nakabolelwa and Lusese, Mpukano and Impalila Island should be considered. Impalila Island is an isolated area with thousands of houses. It will be ideal for ECN to check environmental factors instead of just basing their reasons on lack of resources,” Likando argued.
According to Likando, the constituency has always been a victim when it comes to services, citing the very few ministries and the critical point of having poor road network.
He proposed that the points must be at least four instead of the two as it is provided. Contacted for comment, ECN Chief Electoral & Referenda Officer Theo Mujoro, said the number of registration points is the same as was used last year during the 2019 Presidential and National Assembly elections. “Only now, we don’t have semi-fixed teams, only mobile teams. The venues that have been reduced are those for the display of the provisional voters register from 30th September 2020 – 5th October 2020. Initially, the venues were three, however, they have been reduced to two,” Mujoro clarified.
He said the two venues were identified based on factors such as distance and places where people in the constituency would normally go for essential services such as the Kabbe South constituency office.
Equally, he noted, the ECN had to critically scrutinise aspects of its activities and make adjustments not only due to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic but also through analysing the number of registered voters on the current national voters register vis-à-vis the population projections for the year. Likando also complained that registration is slotted for the first two weeks of September, and this time most of the places in his area are still not accessible due to floods.
“It’s the hardest time of the year as swamps are not yet dry and roads are still muddy. Other areas are throughout all the elections only reached by helicopter, which they know. Why do we change formulas when we know the areas that are difficult to reach? To conduct free and fair elections, people must get voters’ cards in order to elect leaders of their choice,” he emphasised. –firstname.lastname@example.org
Mujoro said the ECN has considered the fact that most of the areas such as Mpukano Primary School, Kasika Primary School, Kasikili Village and Impalila Combined School amongst other mobile registration points are normally not accessible by road at this time and ECN has made the necessary arrangements with the defence ministry and other ministries, agencies and offices for the provision of boats and helicopters to reach places that would be difficult to reach through road transport.
“The ECN does consider the different topographic areas of our country in our planning and will ensure an inclusive voters registration process from the 7th – 15th September 2020,” Mujoro said.