Hundreds of thousands of Namibian voters joined long queues when voting started on Friday from seven o’clock in the morning but were slowed by technical problems ineptly handled by nervous-looking polling officials. Officially polling was supposed to start at 07h00 and close at 21h00 for the over 1.2 million registered voters among them first-time voters or so-called ‘born frees’ but at some polling stations voters only cast their votes on Saturday morning at around 03h00. The ‘born free’ generation comprising of people born after Namibia’s independence in 1990 constituted 20 percent of the over 1.2 million registered voters across Namibia. Voting was expected to start in the morning at 7:00 but some of the polling stations could not start on time because of glitches with some of the electronic voting machines (EVMs) being used for the first time in any African presidential and parliamentary elections. By early Friday morning hordes of Namibians could be seen congregating at the polling station at Dagbreek Special School in Klein Windhoek. But by 08:45 some of these potential voters among them senior officials left the polling station in frustration because the EVMs were not working at the polling station. Other potential voters could be seen still milling around. One of the potential voters said he had heard that at least five other nearby polling stations had similar problems.
The incumbent President Hifikepunye Pohamba and the First Lady Penehupifo Pohamba cast their votes at around 08:00 at the polling station at Suiderhof Primary School near State House.
At the polling station at Acacia High School in Khomasdal in Windhoek where Martin Petrus was the first in the queue after he went to the station at 04:00, voting started almost 30 minutes later after the polling station opened at 07:00 because of technical problems with the EVMs attributed to “human factors” by the Director of Elections of the Electoral Commission of Namibia, Professor Paul Isaak.
Edward Haufiku who was among the elderly voters whose queue received preference said: “I do not know what is going on,” in reference to the poll delay.