THE Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) this afternoon said that despite some logistical problems experienced at polling stations around the country, 97% of all polling stations opened on time for this year’s Regional and Local Authority elections, which are currently in full swing.
Giving an update on the progress of elections countrywide at a press briefing, ECN Chairperson, Adv. Notemba Tjipueja, said most polling stations opened on time at 07:00 this morning, with a few exception where challenges were experienced.
Tjipueja said that the delays and challenges experienced at the affected polling stations were largely due to logistical or technical reasons.
These challenges include problems with voter verification devices or mobile voter registration kits, especially around the Khomas Region.
In a addition, there was a lack of critical material at certain polling stations, especially in the Erongo Region and the Okakarara Constituency.
She added that the late arrival of political party agents and leaders also led to the delay in opening of polling stations.
“The ECN is currently receiving detailed reports from respective regional coordinators regarding certain procedural issues related to the issues mentioned above. We will have a process to ascertain the veracity of reports, as well as measure the impact on the electoral process in order to take appropriate steps where necessary,” Tjipueja noted.
She further added that the ECN has received reports from Otjiwarongo of two police officers who took a metal box containing ballot books home and brought them back in the morning.
Tjipueja stated that all books were accounted for and the officers in question were removed from the electoral process.
Furthermore, the Chairperson also expressed dismay at allegations made by the Landless People’s Movement (LPM) that drugs are being distributed to ECN election officials to impair their ability to effectively administer the polling process.
“These allegations are false and devoid of any truth. We thus strongly call on political party stakeholders to refrain from creating such falsehoods as this has the ability to cause confusion and anxiety among voters. Furthermore, there is a video distributed by LPM showing alleged markings of ballot papers by an individual to commit alleged ballot staffing. The ballot shown in the video are clearly not ECN ballots. This is serious misinformation which is meant to mislead the electorate. The ECN strongly condemns such destructive acts meant to discredit the ongoing electoral process and we demand that the LPM desists from continuing with such behaviour which is in contravention of the electoral act,” Tjipueja said.
The ECN expressed gratitude to thousands of Namibians who could be seen standing in long queues to cast their votes.
Voters were further informed that all polling stations will be open until 21:00 and all voters who find themselves in queues beyond that hour will be allowed to cast their votes.