EVMs and the born free voter

Namibia has set a trend
in Africa with the use
of Electronic Voting
Machines (EVMs)
despite the scepticism that
surrounded these machines and
now other African states are only
left with emulating the Motherland.
These EVMs were
manufactured in 1989-90 and
used for experimental purposes
for the first time in 16 Assembly
Constituencies in the States of
Madhya Pradesh (5), Rajasthan
(5) and NCT of Delhi (6) at the
General Elections to the respective
Legislative Assemblies held in
November, 1998 and Namibia has
used them for the 2014 elections.
It is a commendable task that
Namibia took on it has set an
example and a standard for the
rest of Southern Africa. This being
my first time voting in a national
election I can safely say the ECN
has done a tremendous job by
introducing the use of EVMs as
they are much faster and simpler.
The use of the EVMs has led to
voting being a 100% efficient with
no chances of
spoiled ballots.
On that note,
I can clearly
state that even
the elderly were able to utilize the
EVMs, that is simply how simple
they are to use.
It is also important to note that
not everything was rosy with the
use of EVMs as most of us were
expecting fast moving queues,
after all that was what they had
promised the nation.
The law clearly stated that the
voting had to be done within one
day and completed by 21H00 yet
some Polling Stations finished at
04h00 hence my question, “what
could have been the cause of this?”
Was it due to the few technical
glitches that were experienced
because those who were employed
by the ECN did not have proper
knowledge on how to use the
EVMs or is it because they were
overzealous with the functions of
EVMs and expected water out of
a rock or were we expecting too
Some ECN Officials put the
blame on the employees who
lacked the knowledge in using the
EVMs putting much emphasis on
one of the employees who faced a
technical difficulty when President
Hifikepunye Pohamba had to vote
at the Suiderhof Primary School.
This particular employee ran
to find the ECN Official to assist
them and one could see that he was
a nervous wreck.
I can only say one thing in this
regard though, it is not that the
EVMs are cumbersome to use,
in fact they are simple to use but
I would concur with those ECN
Officials who say their temporary
staff lacked the proper knowledge
on the use of EVMs.
With that said, I put the blame
on ECN for not properly training
those who were temporarily
employed to work during the
elections. Those technical glitches
could have been avoided; I am sure
by 21H00 the elections all over the
country would have ceased.
Yes, this means the Namibian
Police would not have been needed
to cut the queues or send people
home…for this mishap, the blame
should be put solely on ECN
for miscalculating all the risks
involved, for limiting the training
period of the election workers
to eight days and of course, I
solely blame them for being too
enthusiastic with the EVMs.
Some Polling Stations opened
three hours after the scheduled
time whilst at other Polling
Stations had to helping with the
setting up of the Polling Station
because the ECN staff was too
slow to set up as the opening time
My reasoning is that ECN was
supposed to sacrifice more time,
more training and more money in
their election staff for a smooth
sailing in the elections all over the
country and not just some parts of
the country.
The sad part about all this is the
fact that many a people wanted to
cast their votes
but as the time
lapsed they were
not allowed to
thus they could
not make their vote count. A lady
went as far as being teary as she
was sent away and not allowed
because ‘she was late’.
Now that is heart-breaking as
we are advised to practice our
democratic freedom yet we are not
given enough time to do so. Yet
they prevent us from making the
right choice because they failed to
work within the time frame they
set themselves.
People were shouting that
the law should be repealed and
promulgate a new law surrounding
the EVMs to have elections take
place in two days instead of one
day to ensure that everyone who
wants to practice their democratic
right does so uninterrupted.
However, I would advise ECN
to get its house in order and stick
to the time frame yet ensuring that
every Namibian who wants to vote,
votes but it becomes a different
case when voters think it is fine
to procrastinate with that ‘African
Time’ notion; then pardon me
ECN, I will not blame you and the
use of the EVMs.
One more thing, many a
Namibian queried on why there is
no paper trail and if this would not
be reason for corruptible practices.
The Rally for Democracy and
Progress (RDP) and the Workers
Revolutionary Party (WRP) even
called for the Electoral Court to
stop the national elections till
February 2015 but they did not
succeed. Yes, it could be that their
argument was based on a strong
point with arguments such as this
machine is prone to corruptible
practices. Others went on to say
that the machines were preprogrammed.
…But to this I can only say one
thing, they needed to dig further
and do more