Observer missions doubt use of EVMs in Namibia election

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EYEAFRICA TV: Windhoek, Namibia: Observer missions in Namibia cast doubts over the use of electronic voting machines (EVM) in the presidential elections.

The EVM lacks an audit trail and delays in the processing of votes and it should be addressed by relevant authorities to give voters more confidence, said observer missions from the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Africa Union (AU) and the Commonwealth of Nations.

“The mission recommends that the relevant authorities take the necessary steps to give effect to the provisions of the electoral act, based on the missions interactions, this may contribute to increasing public confidence in the electoral system and in the use of EVMs in particular,” said Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, head of the SADC observers mission, at a press conference on Friday.

There were reports that electronic voting machines have caused delays in voting after they failed or had to be rebooted.

“The vote verification process took more time and impacted on the average time to process a voter. The delays were attributed to the failure of the voter verification device to automatically scan the voters card. Polling staff had to resort to manual search of the names on the device. Thus contributing to the long queues observed during the voting exercise,” AU observer mission head Ernst Bai Koroma pointed out.

Several political parties were unhappy with the way the voting process had been conducted, especially the EVMs.

“And in regard to the EVM I would implore the commission to consider whether our electoral processes confer credibility and integrity in accordance to both SADEC and AU standards. And I believe there is a meaning for the word standard in that regard,” said independent presidential candidate Panduleni Itula.

Despite their findings, the observer missions called for calm and patience as the vote counting process is in the crucial finalization phase.

“It is our hope and expectation that as the results process reaches its crucial finalization phase, that Namibia’s tradition of peaceful electoral process will continue to be jealously preserved,” said Musa Mwenya, head of the observer mission from the Commonwealth of Nations.

Vote counting is currently underway following tightly contested elections.

The country’s ruling party is projected to face its biggest challenge since independence. President Hage Geingob is seeking re-election following a first term marred by an economic downturn.

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