DTA to pronounce itself on EVMs use next week

RUNDU: The opposition DTA of Namibia will next week pronounce itself on the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) during this year’s Presidential and National Assembly elections.

Namibians go to the polls for the Presidential and National Assembly elections in November this year.

DTA Secretary-General (SG) Vincent Kanyetu told Nampa on Tuesday that the party has been consulting people, both party members and non-party members as well as experts on the use of the machine to determine whether it is fit for use during this year’s elections.

The DTA SG feels the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) has not sufficiently trained eligible voters on the use of the machines, saying there is also not enough time to do so before the elections.

The use of these machines may lead to a low voter turn-out, he stated, adding that the ECN should have conducted at least four rounds of educational campaigns throughout the country on its use.

This was necessary to ensure that eligible voters do not forget how the machine should be used, and there are also some voters in remote areas who have never seen the machine, thus making it a challenge to expect such people to trust it.

“Some people in the rural areas have never seen a computer or this machine, and it will be difficult for them to trust it without proper education,” he stressed.

Approached for comment, ECN Director Professor Paul Isaak pointed out that the ECN is currently introducing the EVMs in the regions, and will thus hold simulation exercises through its voters’ education department.

He said all political parties in the country agreed and participated in the debate to acquire the EVMs from India in 2009, and it would therefore be unwise for any political party which agreed earlier, to now start objecting to the machines’ use.

The ECN Director then appealed to all political parties to give the electoral body the necessary cooperation so that they could implement the usage of these machines, saying it will benefit political parties in terms of the accuracy of election results as such results will no longer be disputed.

Isaak added that votes will be counted accurately, and released timeously.

“For accuracy and efficiency, I appeal to all stakeholders to adhere to their previous decisions,” he stressed.