RUNDU – The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) said preparations for the Katima Mulilo constituency by-election are on course, as voters are expected to cast their votes at various polling stations on Wednesday, 25 August.
“The final voters registered for the Katima Mulilo Urban constituency stands at 14 241,” said ECN chief electoral officer Theo Mujoro in a statement on Friday. There was a vacancy in the constituency on 26 May after the death of councillor John Muchila Mukaya.
Six candidates will be contesting to fill the vacancy, two of whom are independent candidates, namely: Kubwima Poniso Millar and Nkando Gibson Kabuna. Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) is fielding Malipa Lynnette, Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) nominated Marklee Mweti Matengu, Chripher Simasiku is the National Democratic Party (NDP) candidate and Kennedy Simasiku is from Swapo.
“The groundwork for the by-election commenced with the development of an election calendar, which outlines electoral activities and timelines that are critical for the preparations and successful execution of various tasks and responsibilities by various stakeholders to ensure the delivery of free, fair and credible elections,” Mujoro noted. Through a Public Procurement Act, the bid to print the ballots was awarded to Solitaire Press and the verification of the final ballot papers was finalised on 12 August.
The printing of the ballots was conducted on 13 August. All sensitive materials for the elections were dispatched on 19 August from the ECN headquarters to Katima Mulilo under police escort as per the institution’s standard operating procedures and will be placed for safekeeping at the police station within the constituency until the polling teams are dispatched to their respective venues.
“A total of 160 polling officials have been recruited to make up 20 teams: 15 fixed and five mobile teams. The training for political party agents and police officers took place on 17 August at Kamunu village hall in Katima Mulilo,” he said. The 20 teams will be deployed on Tuesday (24 August) to their respective polling venues and a total of 40 vehicles will be used during this process.
“The commission is encouraging all voters to go out in numbers to exercise their democratic right and vote. Polling stations will open at 07h00 and close at 21h00. Go and vote; your vote counts,” he noted.
Mujoro said the ECN, together with the Namibian Police, will ensure that all persons participating in the various aspects of this electoral process adhere or fully comply with the requisite Covid-19 protocols and measures.
Their focus would be on ensuring everyone at various polling stations should wear their masks. “We will also ensure that we will keep proper order of the queues so that people observe social distancing and that their hands are sanitised. Importantly, we will also ensure to disinfect our electoral materials and equipment throughout the entire process,” he said.