By Sakeus Iikela
MANY Namibians endured long hours in queues as they patiently waited to cast their votes, with the national elections management body scrambling to set up properly for the conduct of the national elections yesterday.
Voting at several polling stations started an hour or so late, while at other stations, voting was stalled due to challenges associated with the electronic voting machines (EVMs). Some machines were reportedly broken yesterday.
Others had weak batteries, while some appeared to have malfunctioned.
The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN)’s biometric voter verification system also experienced problems yesterday as some voters could not be traced on the system, despite having voters’ cards.
These caused delays in the voting process at some stations.
The electronic voting system was introduced in Namibia as a more efficient and effective way of conducting elections, as opposed to the traditional manual ballot paper system.
In fact, the ECN’s chief electoral officer, Theo Mujoro, has on numerous occasions lauded the machines, saying they are “a robust technology”, and were therefore tamper-proof.
“They eliminate mistakes that could creep into the process because of fatigue and human error,” Mujoro was quoted as saying.
Strange occurrences were recorded at several polling stations, including one at the International University of Management in Windhoek, and another at the Khomasdal Community Hall, where observers and political party agents as well as the media observed some EVMs starting to beep without being touched.
These matters raised serious concerns amongst those observing the elections.
Although a quick vote confirmation was performed at the two polling stations to confirm the number of votes cast on the EVMs and those recorded manually, political agents and observers were still left without answers.