ECN visits PM Geingob

The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) paid a courtesy call on the Prime Minister Hage Geingob today to brief him about their planned activities ahead of next year’s general elections.

The Commission’s chairperson, Notemba Tjipueja who led the group briefed the PM on the commission’s plans to implement aggressive voter education across Namibia and asked him to consider making her position and the positions of other high ranking officials in the commission full time.

“If you look at Sadc countries, the electoral commissioners are full time. My responsibilities and those of some of my colleagues are too many for part time,’’ she pleaded with the PM.

Tjipueja also spoke about the possible electronic voting system to be implemented in the upcoming elections.

The machine which was manufactured in India requires only the voter’s fingerprints and has a database that stores information about every registered voter.

The voters’ data will be stored during registration which is set to commence on 31 August 2013 until 28 February next year.

Tjipueja, however, said the commission is waiting for an extension request to be approved by the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development as she believes the set time frame will not be sufficient for voter training and education.

She further told The Villager that the use of the machines will depend on the response of the electorate as well as the public. “If the response is positive, then we will move forward,” she said.

Mariental, Rundu, Ondangwa and Swakopmund were singled out as the towns where the extensive training of ECN staff will take place.

The training, which will be called the ’train the trainer program’ is currently set to involve 214 people, a number which is set to increase.

Geingob on his part welcomed the ECN’s initiative of an electronic voting system saying it was about time for change.  He urged the commission to do everything possible to ensure smooth and transparent elections.

The PM expressed satisfaction with the implemented training and education programs.

“We do not want any hiccups in such a big event. Training is very important,” he said.