THE voting process was temporarily put on hold at the Mandengu Community Centre in the Evululuko location of Oshakati while Electoral Commission of Namibia officials and party agents met behind closed doors trying to solve a crisis that developed after a female voter was allowed to vote twice.
The irregularity was detected by alert party agents who immediately confronted the presiding officer about the incident.
Returning officer Efraim Iiyambo refused to comment as he emerged from the closed door meeting, but agitated representatives of the six participating candidates confronted him outside demanding answers.
Senior ECN official, Thomas Shapi, was roped in to solve the crisis, but he informed Informanté that by law he is not allowed to interfere in such cases.
“It is the prerogative of the presiding officer and the party agents to find a solution. If they cannot then the returning officer is the next person to get involved,” said Shapi.
At the time of the incident 270 people had voted but records indicated that 271 votes were cast.
Former independent candidate for the Ondangwa Urban constituency, Angelina Immanuel, said she witnessed the incident and was disappointed that the presiding officer tried to pass the buck to the voter alone.
“The voter had voted and was leaving when she was asked by an ECN official whether she had already voted. She replied that she was not sure because she did not hear any sound when she pressed the ‘vote’ button. She was then allowed to vote again,” said Immanuel who is representing independent candidate Fiina Kuutondokwa-Sheehama.
The incident was confirmed by representatives of the other five candidates and by ECN officials.
PDM’s Johannes Martin said he cannot see how the issue will be resolved. “This is serious and and it would be very interesting to see how the ECN goes about solving this problem of having more voters than the number of voters who cast their ballots” said Martin.
Meanwhile, returning officer Iiyambo said that all polling stations opened on time at 07:00 and that no mechanical problem was reported at any of the 21 polling stations.
However he was not satisfied with the number of voters who cast their ballots before noon.
Only a total of 1,700 voted by 12:00 but Iiyambo was optimistic that the numbers would eventually increase before polling stations close at 21:00.