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The health of Namibia’s voter roll and fate of EVMs

Electoral Commission Chief Electoral Officer Theo Mujoro has lauded the national voters’ register as one of the healthiest in the region, surpassing that of neighboring South Africa.

Mujoro said that the register is a reflection of half of Namibia’s population, equating it to that of Botswana.

Mujoro has so far expressed happiness with the successful registering of 200 000 voters although that number was below the 300 000 target.

He said such a feat was accomplished at the back of logistical and administrative challenges.

“I want to mention something very interesting to you, when you look at the SADC region usually the national voters’ register is around 50% of the national population. And if you do some benchmarking and you compare our own scenario to South Africa or Botswana… if you take South Africa for example, you will realise that the total population of South Africa’s habitants is about 58 million. Their national voters’ register is about 26 million. That is slightly below 50%.

“Take Botswana. Population, 2.3 million. Voters’ register, 1.2 million. That is almost exactly like Namibia. Our population is around 2.3 million. Our national voters’ register before this supplementary stood at around 1.2 million. So from that perspective, it is a very healthy voters’ register in terms of the numbers,” he said.

The Chief Electoral Officer highlighted that what was left with ECN from this point onwards was to run the national voters’ register through the other integrity processes to ensure and guarantee its credibility in terms of accuracy of the voters’ data.

That process also includes the erasing of duplicates, “but most importantly also in terms of removing deceased persons.”

The elephants in the room

So far the big elephant in the room is whether ECN will make use of the Electoral Voting Machines or not.

The EVMs are subject to intense debate across the political divide with an array of political parties dismissing it as a not so credible invention of the Indians that has been shunned in other countries.

“That’s a completely different thing altogether. The EVMs I think we are on record to say that we have there are ongoing consultations on this matter with political parties. We have planned to have what we call the EVM testing session on the request of political parties which was due to take place on the 18th of July.

A few days prior to that event, a number of political parties wrote to us to request for a postponement. So it has been postponed I think. They have requested that it be held on the 13th of August

So on the EVM issue the position of the electoral commission is indeed very clear. We are von record, I think we have been very transparent in terms of engaging parties on this particular issue and we will continue to do so. So I really don’t see any big elephant in the room in as far as that issue is concerned,” said the Chief Electoral Officer.

Kelvin Chiringa

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