National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo) secretary general Josef Kauandenge yesterday called for the postponement November regional council and local authority elections due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN), chief electoral and referenda officer Theo Mujoro told New Era on Tuesday that the commission will go ahead with next week’s supplementary registration of voters - a clear indication that the November elections are still on despite the rise of Covid-19 deaths and cases in the country.
The country yesterday reported 152 new Covid-19 positive cases and one more Covid-19 related death, bringing the total number of cumulative confirmed cases to 7 844 and 82 deaths. “It defies logic that how on earth can the ECN and by extension government continue to plan for an election in this climate where Covid-19 positive cases are on the increase daily? Does Namibians lives not matter when it is time for political office bearers to renew their official mandates?” questioned the outspoken Nudo leader.
The whole country is currently on stage three of the Covid-19 state of emergency, with a daily curfew imposed countrywide, while travel restrictions for Rehoboth, Windhoek and Okahandja remain in place until 12 September.
“The irony of this situation is that while Namibia is under stage three regulations that allows only crowds of 10 people, the ECN deemed it fit in their short sightedness to call up to 200 election officials in Otjiwarongo recently for a training exercise,” claimed Kauandenge.
“Is this not double standards of the highest order on the part of the government for allowing this event to take place, while many Namibians are confined to 10 people gatherings only? What measures did they employ in order to minimise Covid-19 infections amongst those in attendance?”
He also questioned as to how the ECN will control large crowds at the registration points both during the supplementary registration and on the actual voting day.
However, Mujoro speaking to New Era on Tuesday said the commission would handle the “crowds” the same way it is handled at banks and shops.
“People queue but only a certain number is allowed in at a time,” he said. Kauandenge said it does not make any sense that on one hand the country is put under lockdown, while the election process continues as if everything is normal.
He said his party strongly believes there is a serious need for reflection and deep soul searching on the part of the government and the electoral body to consider postponing this year’s elections to a later date but not hold it under the current climate of “death and misery” due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “We owe it to our people as leaders both in government and opposition to put our people’s health way above our own wants and needs and act responsibly for their benefits,” he said. – firstname.lastname@example.org