By: Annakleta Haikera
The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) has laid at the feet of Kapako Constituency Councillor Johannes Karondo blame for why many of his residents obtained voter cards without any national documents.
Karondo previously told The Villager that a number of Kapako residents, a constituency in the Kavango West, are left without monthly government grants, such as old age or disability grants, because they are Angolan nationals who live in Namibia. However, these residents also have ECN voter cards.
One such resident is the 54-year old Lucas Maseka, who is disabled and unemployed.
Maseka, who lost the ability to use his legs after a bomb explosion decades ago, said he was informed by the gender equality, poverty eradication and social welfare ministry that he could not receive a disability grant as he has no national documents. He, however, says he has been voting since Namibia’s independence. The Villager’s investigative unit discovered at least 100 other residents in a similar position.
“In order for a person to register, you need your documents to allow you to get a voter’s card. Our office displays the list of all registered people in all the Constituencies. So what happens is if you go and look at the voter’s register, and you happen to find people that you think are not Namibians, we definitely remove them only with the assistance of the Constituency Councilor,” ECN spokesperson Lina Ndengu told The Villager.
“My question to the Councillor Johannes Karondo is when they had an election for the regional Councillor in November 2020, why did he not object to this? This could have been a question to him. These people were on the list of the Consistency office. Why did they not remove them to say they don’t have national documents? Why was this not brought to our office’s attention that these people have voter cards but no national documents for elections and lodged complaints at the Election Court in 2020?”
She said ECN does not give voter cards at the regional Council and that if a person does not have documents, they cannot register.
According to ECN, for one to register as a voter, proof of identity, age and Namibian citizenship is needed.
This is done by producing either a valid green passport or new Namibian ID or old Namibian ID, or alternatively, a citizenship certificate and old Namibian ID (if born outside Nambia), Namibian Birth Certificate and new Namibian driver’s licence, Namibian Birth Certificate and two registered deponents or proof of residency.
“This is a process that we do before elections start. We also see to it that everyone who votes in Namibia has national documents, and if it happens that some people are not Namibian, they will not be allowed to vote. If the Councillor knew that people at Kapako didn’t have national documents but only voter cards, he should have lodged a complaint to the Election Court.
“If the Councillor feels this is the issue, they are welcome to approach us with the list of names of those people who have voters cards but have no documents so that we can look at the records to say what was provided before these people were issued voter cards,” said Ndengu.
Last month, Karondo told The Villager that residents being issued voter cards without national documents happens not only in his Constituency but also in most northern regions in Namibia.
Many families in this situation are unemployed. This also affects their children, who are forced to drop out of Grade 9 and 11 because they must have documents to write national exams.