WINDHOEK - Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani yesterday said he was still waiting to hear from Sadc chairperson and Tanzanian President John Magufuli over an urgent meeting he had requested to discuss concerns on the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in Namibia’s general elections. Some opposition parties, including PDM, alleged that EVMs can be tampered with and demanded that the Electoral Commission of Namibia reintroduce the ballot paper voting system for the upcoming Presidential and National Assembly elections. Namibians will go to the polls on 27 November. Venaani last month said the use of EVMs without the voter verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) will not lead to credible election results. He said he has repeatedly demanded ECN should make sure that EVMs be fitted with a VVPAT device to ensure fairness during elections. The paper trail facility allows the verification of votes through a receipt that serves as proof that the vote cast was for a particular political party or candidate.
Approached for comment yesterday, Venaani said he was still waiting to hear from the Sadc chair. “Magufuli hasn’t responded, his office requested us to send the letter via foreign affairs, which we did, so we wait,” said Venaani. In a letter to Magufuli, seen by New Era, Venaani requested an urgent meeting with the Sadc chair to discuss the use EVMs in the upcoming elections. “As a leader of the official opposition in Namibia, I request an urgent meeting to discuss our concerns at your earliest convenience. Under the present climate, Namibia cannot hold free and fair elections,” Venaani said. “You may know that since the last election, Namibia has adopted the use of EVMs. At the time of the introduction of the voting machines, my party, PDM, was sternly opposed to their use. Our objections, which then centered on the absence of a paper trail, remains to this day.” According to Venaani, with fresh allegations of how EVMs are manipulated, credibility of the machines is surely ‘eroded’. “As you might be aware, various nations of the world have rejected EVMs due to their manipulative characteristics and have opted to go manual,” Venaani said, adding that PDM has maturely showed course of its seriousness to resolve the issue with the ECN since February this
2019-11-13 07:54:23 | 4 months ago