by Namibia Press Agency

DESPITE calls by political actors to do away with electronic voting machines (EVMs) amid suspicion that they can be tampered with, the Electoral Commission of Namibia says the machines are going nowhere as the commission has not formally been asked to remove them.

The commission’s chairperson, Notemba Tjipueja, said this in response to media queries at a briefing in Windhoek yesterday.

Her remarks come at a time when several EVMs, which were under the care of the ruling Swapo Party, have been reported missing.

The ECN maintained that the missing EVMs “cannot in any way affect the outcome or the credibility of the elections we are going to deliver”.

Asked if there was any possibility of doing away with the EVMs, whose credibility appears to be dwindling in the public domain, Tjipueja replied: “We have given them [political parties] an opportunity to make written submissions of what they want, but they are not able to come up with a position or an alternative. They have only indicated about the VVPAT, and we have indicated to them the reasons why we are not able to introduce the VVPAT. That is clear.”

The Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) facility, which several opposition parties have been calling for, allows the verification of votes through a receipt that serves as proof that the vote cast was for a political party or candidate.

Independent presidential candidate Panduleni Itula also joined the debate around EVMs.

“We cannot allow the ECN to coerce us into using a method of election that do not prefer to use, and I will ask the nation at large to reject the EVMs,” he was quoted as saying.

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*This article was first published on 30 October 2019

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