The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) has moved to allay fears of vote rigging and corruption after opposition parties raised alarm about the use of electronic voting machines without a paper trail. Namibians are set to go to the polls in November to elect the country’s third democratically elected president as well as members of the National Assembly. The November plebiscite will for the first time make use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) that were purchased from India, but the absence of a paper trail to be used in conjunction with the voting machines has seen members of the opposition crying foul. Despite the use of the voting machines in regional by elections held recently that were declared free and fair, the opposition feel that the absence of a verifiable paper trial will see results of the November election being manipulated in favor of the ruling party South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO).
However, the country’s election chief Notemba Tjipueja told Prime Minister Hage Geingob during a meeting this week that there was no need for panic.
Media reports quoted the ECN chairperson Thursday saying the manipulation of the Indian-manufactured voting machines was not possible. She said the machines are stand-alone and accurate and will give immediate results.
“The EVMs are not computers but operate like a calculator. They do not have any software that can be manipulated by anybody or by process of the internet. The machines avoid spoilt or rejected ballots, which previously denied votes for parties to win seats,” Tjipueja said.