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EVMs use ruling set for 25 Nov.

The Electoral Tribunal has postponed independent presidential candidate Dr Panduleni Itula’s case in which he wants the Electoral Commission of Namibia to make changes to the use of the electronic voting machines to 25 November 2019.

Dr Itula gave the electoral commission an ultimatum about a week ago demanding that if the electronic voting machines are going to be used in the forthcoming Presidential and National Election on 27 November, two issues must be addressed.

One of the issues is that the ECN should deploy IT experts at every polling station or that they should introduce an EVM that has a paper trail.

In the absence of any of the two demands being met, Dr Itula said the ECN should revert to the use of the paper ballot.

The ECN, however, did not meet the ultimatum resulting in the case ending up before the Electoral Tribunal that sat at the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court in Katutura on Tuesday.

Magistrate Uatjo Uanivi, who presided over the case in a fully packed courtroom where Dr Itula’s supporters made up of the Workers Revolutionary Party and the NEFF attended.

The ECN said that Dr Itula’s fear of the EVMs was unsubstantiated as they have been used before in 2014 without the voters’ verifiable paper audit trail with the confirmation of the high court.

Furthermore, the ECN argued that Dr Itula’s demand that IT experts should be deployed at every polling station was unrealistic considering the costs involved.

ECN chief electoral officer Theo Mujoro said Dr Itula was creating drama and that the employment of the independent experts to inspect machines at every polling station flew in the face of section 94 which guarantees the power of the electoral officers to determine what is to be done at polling stations.

Calling Dr Itula’s demands grandstanding, the ECN said that they cannot stop the use of EVMs now because the Government Gazette was clear on their use in 2014.

Magistrate Uanivi will deliver his ruling on 25 November 2019 – two days before the election day.

Wonder Guchu

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