Kayone admits Angolan voter registration . . . as church, ECN officials are fingered

Helena Johannes

Swapo Omusati regional coordinator Sackey Kayone has confirmed to the Windhoek Observer that Angolan nationals are being registered to vote in Namibia.

He said his office had received a report from Okalongo councilor’s office on Tuesday stating that church leaders together with individuals from the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) are assisting Angolan nationals to get voting cards.

“The story of Venaani is misleading because it is not the councilors who are involved in this issue, but these Angolans are being assisted by church representatives together with some individuals from ECN to get voting cards,” he told the Windhoek Observer, but was quick to deny that the process was being carried out for the purpose of voting for Swapo.

According to Kayone, he sent people to go and investigate the matter and it was verified that there are truly some church leaders involved in representing Angolan nationals to get voting cards in the region.

“I instructed people to go and observe the matter, and it was verified, but I sent out a message for this to end,” he said.

“What Venaani is saying, that Swapo transports people from Angola is completely out of order. If he’s saying the Swapo party is transporting people from Angola, can he provide those vehicle registration numbers? People must stop talking without information.”

The revelation comes as Popular Democratic Movement President McHenry Venaani on Tuesday accused the ruling party (Swapo) of attempting to steal votes through the issuing of voters’ cards to Angolan nationals.

During a press conference held at Parliament, Venaani said that Swapo has, in the past, issued cards to people in southern Angola to come vote in their favor.

“These people are voting for MPLA in Angola and Swapo in Namibia,” he said.

According to Venaani, he came to realize that thousands of Angolans possess voting cards during his visit to northern border posts a few months ago. He visited posts such as the one at the Okapalelona border.

“Angolans get chances to vote for Swapo especially in regions like Omusati, Ohangwena and the two Kavangos because they are able to access hospitals and schools in Namibia,” he said.

Okapalelona border post is one of the busiest borders posts into Angola situated in Omusati region. Southern Angolans often travel without passports to Namibia and although borders are currently closed. Venaani claimed that the country’s borders with Angola are not properly well secured and people are still entering illegally.

Venaani claimed to have video evidence and pictures that he took during his visit to the North of Angolan nationals who have Namibian voting cards but do not have Namibian identity documents.

“I met a lot of people during my visit at the Okapalelona border post who said they voted for Swapo without identity documents and I have clips and pictures of them,” he said.

The PDM leader claimed that Namibia has voter results which are more than the population of people able to vote in the country.

“We have compiled a letter which has to be discussed with the ECN commissioner to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Home Affairs regarding this issue,” he said.

When approached for comment, the ruling party’s Secretary General Sophia Shaningwa denied Venaani’s claims, stating that Swapo did not have transportation to ferry people across the border from Angola to vote.

“The Swapo Party doesn’t have vehicles that can be utilized to transport people into Namibia. There are only perhaps two vehicles per region. There is a car for the regional coordinator and a car for administration. If there are three, that I doubt,” Shaningwa told Windhoek Observer.

She challenged Venaani to provide proof of his claims, stating that onus is not on Swapo to have to answer, “it’s on him to give the proof.”

The current claim that Angolan nationals are preparing to vote in Namibia comes as the country is due to hold local authority elections in November.

The ECN is currently carrying out supplementary voter registration.

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