The campaigns leading to Wednesday’s Presidential and National Assembly Elections and the polling itself are a clear indication the democratic culture has fully entrenched itself in Namibia. Multi-party elections where political parties freely engage in the contestation of competing ideas, trying to woo voters on what they will do once voted into power, has become an integral part of our way of life.
Voters had a wide choice to choose from the list of eleven presidential candidates and the fifteen political parties that contested for seats for the law-making body of Namibia’s legislature.
Multi-party democracy allowing parties to campaign across the breadth and width of the country without fear of being arrested of harassed by the police or political hooligans as is sadly the norm in other countries, is the only genuine route to attain political office in independent Namibia.
It is an open secret the incumbency in other African countries engage in political hooliganism and use the security apparatus to disrupt opposition rallies but Namibia should be hailed for having had a very peaceful if not subdued political campaigns and even voting and not a single life lost.
Throughout the campaigns the incumbent Hage Geingob and the Founding President Sam Nujoma evangelised peace and the opposition also took cue from their message for the need for peace pre and post elections as Namibia is one nation and that politics should not foment hate or violence. Police Inspector-General Sebastian Ndeitunga was also non-partisan as he rightly reiterated time and again the need for orderly and peaceful campaigns from all political parties and their supporters.
The emergency of fake news reports spreading inciteful messages that have the potential to incite and cause violence and a few isolated incidents of some political hooligans trashing campaign posters of rival political parties seem to have been the only serious incidents reported during the campaigns. The spread of fake news timed to misinform the electorate is unfortunately a growing global menace that should be nipped in the bud as it antagonizes the electorate. It spreads malicious reports that could be misconstrued as true by some who take every printed word as Gospel truth.
As we speak fake news sites are also posting fake election results intended to taint the credibility of the authentic results being posted by the electoral body the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN).
Though the elections went smoothly across the country there were technical glitches experienced on some of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) some of which had flat batteries, some malfunctioned and incidents of the bona fides of some voters not being traceable on the biometric systems of the EVMs. Fortunately, no voter was deprived of their fundamental right vote as all these technicalities were efficiently and timeously ironed out by technicians from ECN.
Some elders initially fumbled with the EVMs and others had turned up at polling stations with invalid old voters’ cards. The senior citizens were gradually assisted but no one could do anything in the case of a few elderly voters who turned up with old voter’s cards. Namibia has 1.3 million registered voters and the one-day presidential and national assembly elections took place at thousands of polling stations. Handling an election of such magnitude will always have its own challenges.
The nation now awaits ECN to deliver an election whose credibility should not be in doubt.
Whoever wins this election should not forget the electorate the majority of whom are without jobs, live in squalor, daily endure economic hardships and have no proper water and sanitation. Political promises that are not kept are a recipe for resentment that could lead to restless and unrest.
2019-11-29 08:44:48 | 9 days ago