‘Namibia poll campaign peaceful, orderly’

 

Windhoek – The SADC Electoral Observer Mission (SEOM) to Namibia as well as the Election Watch of Namibia have confirmed that Namibia election campaigns were conducted in a peaceful and orderly manner although there were a few isolated incidents of violence and intimidation in some parts of the country.

Briefing the media last week Monday, Llewelyn Landers, Head of SEOM to Namibia and South Africa’s Deputy Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, said campaigns during the election campaigning period that kicked off on November 10, 2014, were free and orderly although there were a few incidents of violence and intimidation by some party supporters and sympathisers.

“So far, the SADC Electoral Observer Mission is able to report on the positive climate that pervades the campaign in the 14 regions of Namibia and with the development on the ground the mission remains confident that the Presidential and national Assembly elections scheduled for Friday, November 28, will be peaceful, free and fair,” he said.

Ninety-seven SADC Election Observers have been deployed to all the 14 regions of Namibia. The mission will issue the last statement on the conclusion of their mission on November 30, 2014, Lander said. 

Meanwhile, Graham Hopwood, the Director of Election Watch of Namibia – an institution that falls under the Institute for Public Policy Research, said the situation is a vast improvement on 2009 when the IPPR noted many incidents of violence and intimidation in the run-up to that election. The organisation says less than 10 incidents were recorded this year.

“For the first time in Namibia elections, we are unaware of any hate speech utterances from the senior political figures on the campaign trail,” he said

The Election Watch of Namibia also pointed out concerns the organisation feels might create suspicious among voters and among them are transparency and the tendered vote.  Hopwood said that the fact that registered voters are being allowed to cast their vote wherever they find themselves around the country on the voting date, a practice that leads to some constituencies and regions recording 100 percent plus, might again fuel suspicion on election results as happened in the 2009 election and may result again in some political parties challenging the election results through the court.

He said it is very important that this time the ECN release the figures for the number of tendered votes cast in each constituency and also eventually release a tendered vote reconciliation, which demonstrates where people originally come from in terms of their vote registration card.

Other concerns were of voter education, especially on the use of the electronic voting machine, predicting that the country might experience long queues and lots of mistakes on the election date and some people might find it difficult to operate the machine.

According to the Electoral Commission of Namibia, 1.2 million people have registered to vote in this year’s election out of a population of 2.2m.

Sixteen political parties and nine presidential candidates were contesting in the November 28 Presidential and National Assembly elections, the fifth since Namibia’s  independence in 1990.

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