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.
The South West Africa People’s Organisation was forged from the embers of the anti-colonial and anti-apartheid struggle and has won every election since Namibia’s independence from South Africa in 1990.
“I was born SWAPO,” said Hosea, a Windhoek student who vowed to vote for the centre-left party of liberation.
According to pollsters, the party remains hugely popular.
The question will be whether discontent over social and economic issues will eat into SWAPO’s support, eroding its 75 percent haul garnered in 2009.