KEETMANSHOOP - Regional council and local authority elections should go ahead as scheduled by the Electoral Commission of Namibia, the Landless Peoples Movement’s election director, Ziggy Isaacks has said.
A number of political parties, including Nudo, last week called for the 27 November elections to be postponed due to challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Those political parties who call for the delay in polls, claiming the coronavirus might derail their campaign strategies should have started campaigning four years ago instead of awakening only now,’’ Isaacks shot back.
He went on to say it would be too late to amend the government gazette in order for President Hage Geingob to declare another date for elections. He added concerns raised by the parties do not justify a delay in polls. According to Isaacks, the electorate will also be denied their constitutional right to participatory democracy should elections be delayed.
“The Landless People’s Movement is ready and prepared to contest for regional council and local authority seats come this year’s election and other political parties should not derail the process due to their inabilities and unpreparedness,’’ said Isaacks.
He explained LPM is recommending that polls should be conducted over two days instead of the announced one-day. “Our reasoning is that this will avoid congestion of queues on polling day and also eliminate the risk that voters might be discouraged to wait for long hours in the lines due to the maintenance of the mandatory Covid-19 social distancing.”
Another recommendation, according to him is that provision should be made for more polling stations to allow more people to vote at one time as not all of them might have done so by 21h00 on polling day.
‘’The risk here is that, the voter turnout being already low during regional council and local authority elections from past experiences might then even decrease further if polling stations are not increased,’’ he added. Isaacks advised those parties citing political campaigning challenges to rather do it through social media platforms, radio and television as mass gatherings and door-to-door campaigning might not be possible due to restrictive measures aimed at curbing further spread of the coronavirus.