By Khanyiswa Mogotsi and Terttu Newaka
SOME voters at the Okahandja Town Hall have left the polling station without voting due to a broken electronic voting machine.
The voters told The Namibian that they left after waiting for close to four hours to cast their votes due to a technical error on one of the machines.
Early this morning, voting at the Osona military base near Okahandja was also delayed for an hour because of a broken machine, although voting later continued after the machine was replaced.
One of the voters at the Okahandja community hall, George Shikongo (46), said that while waiting in the line for approximately three hours, they were informed that one of the machine was not working.
“When it was my time to enter the hall, I heard the news that the machine is totally broken and since that notice, the officials closed the doors and some people started leaving,” said Shikongo.
Jackson Njembo (44) said he had been waiting to vote for close to three hours.
He said that the malfunctions are reason why they people were apprehensive about using EVM’s.
“This is why these EVMs were being disputed, now look at what is happening,” he said.
A disappointed voter, who identified himself only as Rosison, said some pensioners who were at the hall left without voting due to the EVM malfunction.
“There were pensioners that were here since morning that had to go back to their homes without voting. They just gave up after hearing that the EVMs were no longer working,” he said.
Rosison added that despite having the will to vote, some people have chosen not to because the next polling station is far and they do not have taxi money.
Evangeline Murangi, a presiding officer at Okahandja community hall confirmed that their presidential EVM malfunctioned at 10h54.
“We had one EVM for presidential that was giving us technical issues so I called my IT. We tried to rectify the problem over the phone but it was giving us the same issues,” she said.
Murangi said they had to wait for a spare EVM that was kept at the police station and are now ready to proceed with the voting.
“We did a pre-polling in the presence of the party agents and we are continuing with the process now,” she said.
Commenting on individuals who said they left the polling station after hearing that the EMS have malfunctioned and said they would will no longer be voting as the next station is far, Murangi said it was a matter of individuals not knowing where the polling stations were situated.
“They probably don’t know where they are because we have many of them” she said.
Murangi said over a hundred people cast their votes prior to the machine malfunction.
Contacted for comment about the technical errors with some of the machines, spokesperson for the Electoral Commission of Namibia, Vikitoria Hango, said they will only answer questions at a press conference scheduled for later today in Windhoek.