• August 13th, 2020

ECN aware of virus while planning November poll

Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) chief electoral and referenda officer Theo Mujoro said the electoral body is closely following developments around the Covid-19 pandemic with a view to develop mitigating strategies to lessen the virus impact on the upcoming regional and local authority elections scheduled for November.

Mujoro speaking exclusively to New Era said the electoral body fully supports government efforts to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and hopes that this disease will be contained well before the critical stages of the country’s next elections.

“We believe that the adopted measures such social distancing, wearing of face masks and ensuring of compliance with health and hygiene guidelines can eliminate potential Covid-19 infections during elections if applied correctly and implemented effectively,” Mujoro said. 
He said conducting elections involves mobilisation and this often entails congregation of large numbers of people during such political rallies, voter education sessions, voter registration and the actual polling process. 

Mujoro said the electoral body has developed an electoral calendar for the forthcoming 2020 Regional Council and Local Authority elections. 
“We intended to hold a major stakeholders consultative conference on 30-31 March 2020 to discuss amongst many other issues, the contents of the electoral calendar,” Mujoro said 

This conference, he said was also meant to consult stakeholders specifically, on the mode of voting in the forthcoming elections following the landmark judgment of 5 February this year by the Supreme Court, which prohibits the use of EVMs without a paper trail.  “This event was postponed indefinitely due to the Covid-19 outbreak but we are currently exploring innovative ways of consulting stakeholders in light of the current circumstances,” he said. 

Likewise, Mujoro said the ECN is currently in the conceptualisation stage which include desktop work, basically looking at training manuals, policies, procedures, operational plans, institutional capacity.
This phase requires limited physical meetings as opposed to the next phase, which will involve stakeholders’ consultations, outreach, boundary clarifications etc.

Similarly, he said the ECN will in due time engage with other relevant State institutions, specifically the Ministry of Health and Social Services and the Namibian Police in order to develop a plan of sharing resources and building synergies in the enforcement of Covid-19 related measures in line with the ongoing state of emergency. 

“Organising and conducting elections is a continuous process and not a once off event. In line with this principle, we are currently putting in place the required building blocks as defined in the pre-electoral phase of the electoral cycle conceptual framework,” he said. 
Mujoro says supplementary registration for the forthcoming elections is expected to take place somewhere around September and the polling towards end of November 2020. 

“So, we have a bit of time to do all the necessary pre-electoral work,” he said. 
“National elections are the same in terms of scope and magnitude. That said, we are preparing to put in place similar levels in terms of the human capital and logistical infrastructure as witnessed last year during the November Presidential and National Assembly elections,” he added. 

In order to successfully conduct the forthcoming 2020 Regional Council and Local Authority elections, Mujoro said the ECN would require at least N$288 million.
- ktjitemisa@nepc.com.na 

Kuzeeko Tjitemisa
2020-05-11 10:04:44 | 3 months ago

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