• January 23rd, 2020

ECN rapped over the knuckles… electoral body told to plan better next time



WALVIS BAY - The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) has been heavily criticised by stakeholders at the coast ahead of next week’s Walvis Bay Urban by-election. Many stakeholders were not happy with the preparedness of the ECN going into the poll next week. 

The ECN is also holding by-elections in Keetmanshoop, Khomasdal and Gobabis next Wednesday. 
The by-election at Walvis Bay was necessitated by the resignation of constituency councillor Hafeni Ndemula last year. Two independent candidates, Knowledge Ndunge Ipinge and Jason Kenneth Ilonga, are contesting the vote. Swapo has fielded Sirie Topulathana, while Richard Noabeb represents the PDM. 
A representative of the Welwitschia hospital Gareth Smith implored the ECN to plan better in the future. This is after the health facility’s management were only informed on Tuesday this week that the hospital would serve as a mobile polling station. 

“We only received our letter on Tuesday informing us that they have a mobile station at the hospital.  We have no problem with the election but it makes it difficult to control especially if people from outside come to vote here. It’s not only about our patients’ privacy but also the fact that it is our theatre day, as it is uncomfortable for people to walk through the hospital to get to the polling station,” he explained. 

Some of the stakeholders who attended yesterday’s meeting also raised concerns around the non-existence of voter-education posters at the harbour town. Posters were expected to arrive yesterday, according to ECN returning officer Jeffrey Manale and would be displayed on Friday (today). 
PDM’s Hoaeb and Ipinge pointed out that the closing of doors before 21h00 should be avoided this time around, even though voters had already been permitted onto the premises.  “Let us give everyone a chance to vote unlike the last time when the doors of the Kuisebmond community hall were closed instead of the gate, to allow those inside to vote,” Ipinge said. 

Hoaeb also appealed to ECN to be flexible and lenient especially with the mobile polling station times. “We should understand that voting this time around is not being conducted on a public holiday and some people might only have their lunch hour to vote or are on shift, making it impossible to vote at fixed polling stations,” he said. 

Meanwhile, ECN returning officer Manale informed the meeting that 70 election officials are currently being trained for Wednesday’s vote.  There are 21 136 registered voters in the constituency. 

The ECN says its 18 electronic voting machines will be used, while five will be on standby. Three mobile teams will be visiting the Walvis Bay Correctional Service Facility as from 07h00 until 11h00, police holding cells between17h00 and 21h00 and the Welwitschia Private Hospital between 12h00 and 15h00. 
Fixed polling stations in Kuisebmond will be at Immanuel Ruiters Primary School, Hosiana ELCRN church, Nakambale church as well as Duinesig Combined School. Residents in town will be able to cast their vote at the Anglican Church, the municipal social club as well as the library hall. 

Narraville voters can cast their vote at the St Peter’s Roman Catholic Church and De Duine High School. 
All fixed polling stations will open at 07h00 and close at 
21h00.
 


Eveline de Klerk
2020-01-10 07:34:21 | 12 days ago

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