ECN won’t investigate illegal voter registration

Andrew Kathindi

The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) has ruled out investigating allegations that Angolan nationals are being illegally registered as voters, a move which opposition political parties have said will impact on the credibility and outcome of elections.

The decision by the ECN flies in the face of a confirmation by Swapo Omusati regional coordinator Sackey Kayone that he had received a report detailing how Angolan nationals are being registered in his area.

According to Kayone, the report from the Okalongo councilor has fingered church leaders and ECN officials for assisting Angolan nationals to get voting cards.

When quizzed on whether the ECN has investigated these claims, ECN spokesperson, Viktoria Hango said, “Such objections must be lodged with the Electoral Tribunals designated for the given magisterial geographical area. This provides any registered voters, registered political parties, independent candidates and political organizations the opportunity to scrutinize and object to the inclusion or non-inclusion of any name in the provisional voter’s register.”

According to the commission, the claims being made by the opposition political parties and the Swapo Omusati regional coordinator are untrue as the “processes of ECN are guided by the Electoral Act and are transparent and credible. The Electoral Act makes provision for a Supplementary Registration of Voters (SRV) to be conducted before any election in accordance with Section 38(1) read together with Section 25 (2) of the Act to ensure that all eligible Namibians are registered.”

Hango added, “The Provisional Voters Register (PVR) will be displayed for inspection during the period 30th September 2020 – 05th October 2020. This process is conducted in accordance with Section 31 and 32 of the Electoral Act which requires the ECN to prepare, publish, and display a PVR for public scrutiny and possible objections against the names of persons included therein.”

She further said that in order to register for the local authority elections one is required to provide proof of residence in a local authority for 12 consecutive months.

One must also provide, “A municipal bill or a telephone bill or lease agreement or a statement under oath. It is important to mention that statements under oath can be made at all registration points by registration officers.”

This comes as Popular Democratic Movement President McHenry Venaani earlier this month accused the ruling party (Swapo) of bolstering its voters’ support by issuing Angolan nationals with voter cards.

Venaani claimed that Swapo has, in the past, issued cards to people in southern Angola to come vote in their favor adding that during a visit to northern border posts a few months ago, he had observed that thousands of Angolans were in possession of Namibian voting cards.

Landless People’s Movement leader Bernardus Swartbooi, this month, alleged that Swapo was bringing in people into the //Karas and Hardap regions to register them ahead of the upcoming local and regional authority elections in November.

Namibia is due to hold Regional Council and Local Authority Elections on the 25th of November 2020, with the production and printing of the final voter’s register expected to take place from 10th October – 25th October 2020.

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