The Namibian Economic Freedom Fighters (NEFF), who failed to secure a single seat in last year’s National Assembly and Presidential elections, say they are ready for the upcoming regional and local authority elections slated for November. The NEFF has qualms though with the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) to be used without paper trails. The Director of Elections, Professor Paul Isaak, was quoted last week saying the upcoming elections would be conducted without a voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT). “We have this doubt about the EVMs without paper trials. I don’t know whether Swapo is the enemy of democracy or what. You cannot force people to use something that is not verifiable and claim to have everything free and fair,” NEFF National Coordinator Kalimbo Iipumbu said on Monday.
Articles about voting issues in the Republic of Namibia.
Presidential polls in Namibia have incumbent prime minister Hage Geigob of the ruling SWAPO party leading with 84 percent of the roughly 10 percent of votes officially released so far but the new electronic polling gizmos are leaving some Namibians skeptical. Some 1.2 million people are expected to cast their votes electronically in the country’s fifth election since independence. It will be the first use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) on the African continent. Voters will select presidential and parliamentary candidates directly on the EVMs—slabs of green and white plastic with the names and images of candidates and their party affiliation—that make a loud beep after each vote. The voting modules will not be connected externally to any sources to prevent tampering, and the commission hopes electronic voting will reduce lines and speed up counting. But according to local media reports, results have been trickling in at a snail’s pace at the election centre in the capital Windhoek, worrying the ruling party.
Presidential polls in Namibia have incumbent prime minister Hage Geigob of the ruling SWAPO party leading with 84 percent of the roughly 10 percent of votes officially released so far but the new electronic polling gizmos are leaving some Namibians skeptical. Some 1.2 million people are expected to cast their votes electronically in the country’s fifth election since independence. It will be the first use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) on the African continent. Voters will select presidential and parliamentary candidates directly on the EVMs – slabs of green and white plastic with the names and images of candidates and their party affiliation – that make a loud beep after each vote. The voting modules will not be connected externally to any sources to prevent tampering, and the commission hopes electronic voting will reduce lines and speed up counting. But according to local media reports, results have been trickling in at a snail’s pace at the election centre in the capital Windhoek, worrying the ruling party.
The two Indian experts, who were in the country from Bangalore, Krishna Kumar and Sreenivasa Rao, said any delay in election results, was not because of the machines. “Any election is a long process.Whatever delay there is, has nothing to do with the EVMs,” Kumar said, during an interview with The Namibian at the ECN headquarters on Monday. Opposition parties, including the Workers Revolutionary Party, the Namibian Economic Freedom Fighters and Nudo, blamed the election mishaps on the EVMs, including the delay in the announcement of the Presidential and National Assembly results, which they claimed were being “cooked and manipulated behind closed doors” using the machines. “They are cooking and stirring a pot inside there. EVMs were pre-programmed to give a pre-determined election result in favour of the ruling party (Swapo),” human-rights activist and labour consultant August Maletzky said as he commented on the delay in announcing the results on Monday. But the Indians insist the machines cannot be pre-programmed. “The electronic voting machine is a stand-alone equipment which cannot be connected to an electronic device such as Bluetooth and cannot be manipulated. Once programmed, it cannot be altered,” explains Rao, who is the senior assistant engineer at Bharat. He says the device has been programmed only once during its manufacturing and therefore cannot be re-programmed as some people allege. The experts say back in India, the EVMs have also stirred up debate and received a lot of criticism from opposition parties since they were introduced in the country’s elections in 2000, but said all those disputes have come to naught.
Namibia: SWAPO ahead in Namibia election count after Africa′s first electronic poll | Deutsche Welle
Reports from Namibia on Monday said the ruling South-West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) party was leading in preliminary results. It was credited with having taken 77 percent of Friday’s poll — based on returns from about ten percent of 121 constituencies. Turnout was put at 69 percent of the 1.2 million Namibians eligible to vote, according to official figures. Opposition parties claimed thousands of voters were turned away from polling stations because of technical difficulties. Results from Africa’s first ever electronic vote were still being verified on Monday. Theo Mujoro, director of operations for the Electoral Commission of Namibia, said the commission had found mathematical errors in the results from some constituencies. “The problem primarily is that, from the returns that we received from some of the constituencies, we have detected some mathematical errors and what we have been doing is that we are contacting the returning officers so that they may provide us with the sole document for us to be able to ascertain for ourselves and to effect the necessary corrections,” Mujoro said. He had previously said results would be available within 24 hours of voting.
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.
Namibians voting in their presidential election will become the first in Africa to use electronic voting. It has been 25 years since Namibia’s first democratic elections, and for the first time 1.2 million people are expected to cast their votes electronically in the country’s fifth election since independence. “The decision to consider acquiring electronic voting machines was primarily based on some challenges and experiences that we have had in the manner and way we manage our elections,” the electoral commission’s Theo Mujoro told China’s CCTV. The voters will cast their ballots for presidential and parliamentary candidates on separate machines, chunky slabs of green and white plastic with the names and images of candidates and their party affiliation that make a loud beep after each vote. “The younger people get it first time, but the older ones you have to explain a little,” said presiding officer Hertha Erastus.
Voting began Friday in Namibia’s presidential and legislative elections, in an election that is expected to see the ruling SWAPO party retain power in the country it has run since independence 24 years ago. Voters at Katutura township, outside the capital Windhoek, formed long lines before daybreak, including some first-time “born free” voters – those born after independence in 1990. “It’s a rich country with poor people, so I hope there is more balance,” said 43-year-old Elias while waiting to cast his vote. Although he expects the ruling South West People’s Organisation (SWAPO) to win, he wants to see a more opposition parliamentarians challenge the long-party’s 24 year grip on power. Polls opened at 7am local time and will close around 14 hours later in the latest closing stations.
Namibia is to become the first African country to use electronic voting machines in a general election, after the Windhoek high court dismissed a legal challenge by an opposition political party. The Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) filed an urgent court application to seek the annulment and postponement of the presidential and National Assembly elections scheduled for this Friday, arguing that the machines violate Namibia’s newly amended Electoral Act because they leave no paper trail. The party was joined in its high court application by the African Labour and Human Rights Centre’s director August Maletzky and the Workers Revolutionary Party. But on Wednesday the high court rejected the claims that the use of the e-voting machines was unconstitutional and a breach of the Electoral Act. The Act stipulates that use of the machines in polling should be “subject to the simultaneous utilisation of a verifiable paper trail for every vote cast by a voter and any vote cast is verified by account of the paper trail”. It continues: “In the event that the results of the voting machines and the results of the paper trail do not tally, the paper trail results are accepted as the election outcome for the polling station or voting thread concerned.”
Namibia will vote in Africa’s first electronic ballot Friday, a general election that will usher in a new president and quotas to put more women in government. Opposition parties had launched an 11th-hour challenge to the use of the Indian-made e-voting machines, claiming the lack of a paper trail could open the door to vote rigging. But the Windhoek High Court dismissed the application on Wednesday, leaving the door open for the election to go ahead as planned. Namibians will choose 96 members of the national assembly and one of nine presidential candidates, ranging from the left-wing Economic Freedom Fighters to the white minority Republican Party. Around 1.2 million Namibians are eligible to cast their ballots at nearly 4,000 electronic voting stations across the vast desert nation. But there is only one likely winner. Current Prime Minister Hage Geingob of the ruling SWAPO party has run on a platform of “peace, stability and prosperity” and is sure to become the new president.