KEETMANSHOOP – Tensions flared up at the weekend following a standoff between political parties and the Namibian police during the ongoing supplementary registration of voters at Keetmanshoop.
The tension sparked off on Friday after Ivan Petrus Josob, //Kharas grassroots commissar of the Landless People's Movement (LPM), alleged that Swapo imported voters illegally from Angola and northern Namibia to register and take part in the upcoming regional council and local authority elections.
“We have noted amusingly that the regional coordinator, Matheus Mumbala, of Swapo made ludicrous statements to the effect that Swapo will win all seven constituencies and that they are relevant today,’’ he said.
LPM national leader Bernadus Swartbooi had also claimed on Friday that the ruling party was transporting people from the north to participate in and influence the upcoming elections illegally.
Mumbala branded the allegations as pure political lies. “LPM is busy seriously instigating people and that can destabilise peace and security in the region, leading to tribal tensions and violence in the community,” he warned.
In a statement he added that there was no such arrangement to transport people from one part of the country to another for them to register and vote in areas where they are not residing.
“We are aware that Swartbooi is experiencing election fever because he is anticipating losing in all constituencies and local authority areas in the //Kharas region during this year’s elections,” added Mumbala, while advising the LPM leader to approach the country’s law enforcement for such issues to be addressed.
“He (Swartbooi) should stop trying to score cheap political points at the expense of the peace and stability of this nation,’’ the Swapo politician said.
Approached for comment the Electoral Commission of Namibia’s //Kharas regional coordinator, Augistinus Ucham, explained they only operate in compliance with regulations contemplated under the Electoral Act of Namibia (Act No. 5 of 2014) and are thus not at liberty to comment on whether people registering during the current supplementary voter registration are indeed originating from regions or local authorities they claimed to be from within //Kharas.
“By law any voter can swear under oath by virtue of a sworn declaration that he or she lived in any constituency in a region or local authority for a consecutive period of 12 months, thus being eligible to vote accordingly for the respective elections taking place at such time,’’ he said.
He added that it is only when objections are raised after inspection of the preliminary ECN voters’ roll that such a person, in accordance with ECN processes, can be summoned to prove in a court of law that the declaration made was indeed not done under false pretence.
“I, and ECN for that matter, are thus not, in terms of law, in a position to question the legality of such voter’s statement under oath provided when not conforming to prerequisites to be allowed to register accordingly,” Ucham said.
IPC, LPM supporters fined
Meanwhile, LPM and Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) members were issued with fines of N$2 000 last week Friday for contravening the Covid-19 curfew regulations, which prohibits residents to be on the street between 20h00 and 05h00 prior to the relaxed amendment as announced by President Hage Geingob on the same day.
Namibian police //Kharas regional commander, Commissioner David Indongo confirmed to New Era that two representatives from the two parties were indeed fined after being found at the gate of the Keetmanshoop library, which is one of the registration venues for Keetmanshoop Urban constituency residents.
“A commotion then erupted when LPM supporters demanded documentary proof from the voters brought by IPC allegedly from Naute Dam as the group does not qualify to be registered as they are residing in Keetmanshoop Rural constituency,” the commissioner explained.
“By virtue of coming to the library from the other residential areas already made these people guilty of contravening the curfew in place.”
The ECN regional coordinator, however, informed this reporter that voters were still queuing up inside the library premises after the registration deadline of 19h00.
“We have to register these eligible voters if they were inside the premises after closing time, but with regard to the police issue I am not in a position to comment,” said Ucham.
Josob upon enquiry confirmed they were outside the registration point after 20h00 last Friday. “We were fined by the Namibian police but will first consult our national leadership whether to pay the fine accordingly or go to court,’’ he said.
He added that LPM would during the inspection of the preliminary voters’ roll be in a position to determine if there were any illegal voters registered.
The IPC said the party would not comment on the issuing of fines by the police at this stage as they did not receive any written communication to that effect.