Following what has been described by many as a heated campaign trail, Namibians voted in a general election yesterday hailed by many as peaceful despite challenges associated with electronic voting machines (EVMs) experienced across the country.
Long lines of enthusiastic voters formed at polling stations across Namibia, although some complained of the process, which they branded as painfully slow.
Police chief Inspector General Sebastain Ndeitunga expressed contentment with the voting process, saying the elections, aimed at electing a president and members of the National Assembly, went smoothly.
“I visited a number of polling stations yesterday and I observed calmness. I am very happy about what I observed and I don’t want any parties to refuse to accept the decisions made by the people and hope they will not prompt any provocation,” he said.
Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) executive director Graham Hopwood said they picked up problems with the malfunctioning of or wrongly operated voter verification devices at quite a number of polling stations. “Combined with other issues like a shortage of some official forms, this has led to a very slow voting process at many polling stations around Windhoek,” he said.
Political analyst Ndumba Kamwanyah said Namibia has come of age, which was demonstrated by the peaceful elections yesterday. “I am impressed with the orderly start and the many polling stations provided, especially in Katutura where I cast my vote. But overall, I am concerned with the snail’s pace and glitches with the voting machines reported countrywide. It seems that we are poised for the highest voter turnout ever, especially among the youth,” he said.
United Democratic Front (UDF) of Namibia presidential candidate Apius !Auchab shared the same sentiments, adding that Namibians must accept the poll outcome.
President Hage Geingob, who voted at Mandume Primary School in Katutura East constituency, told journalists about the importance of voting. “It is not a war. It is not the end of the world. We are just exercising our democratic right,” the head of state, who is also the ruling party’s presidential candidate, highlighted.
Approached for comment, Swapo secretary-general Sofia Shaningwa also described the election process as peaceful, saying she visited a number of polling stations without observing any behaviour that was out of place.
“I am very happy the elections are so peaceful, there are quite a number of long queues, which is an indication that people have come out in numbers to vote and that is good for democracy,” she said. Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) presidential candidate Mike Kavekotora said he also visited a number of polling stations in the capital and wherever he went long queues were observed, an indication, he said, that people are interested in voting and want to restore democracy. “Apart from that we have seen a few reports of technical problems. In one particular case the EVM was beeping, in other words, transferring ballot papers without a person being there. We were told an EVM can only make a beep once the person has voted and that beeping is putting a lot of question marks on voters,” he said.
“But the process is going well, I hope that the outcome will be a true reflection of the needs and aspirations of the Namibian people.”
National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo) secretary-general Josef Kauandenge was, however, not impressed, saying the voting process was chaotic. “We are highly disappointed with the malfunctioning of the EVMs across the country and polls opened up very late. It shows that ECN did not prepare sufficiently for this election,” he said.
2019-11-28 07:34:00 | 9 days ago