ECN Aims to Produce Clean Voters’ Roll

THE Director of Elections, Paul Isaak, is confident that the Electoral Commission of Namibia will produce a clean voters’ roll this year.

Speaking to The Namibian yesterday after the panel discussion on the Electoral Integrity in Africa held at the NamPower Convention Centre on Tuesday, Isaak said the supplementary registration will also ensure that corrections of mispelled names are made at the time of election in November.

He said the commission currently has the provisional voters’ roll up for inspection soon, thus allowing political parties as well as civil society to raise their objections should they have any.

The panel discussion was attended by experts from Kenya, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Ghana.

“Additionally, we have made the effort to work with the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration, so we can eliminate names of dead people,” he said.

Isaak pointed out that ECN officials should continue to be impartial and professional to avoid any tampering with the voters’ roll.

“They can be part of any political party but they cannot take sides when it comes to work. They must be impartial and professional,” said Isaak.

Graham Hopwood, director of the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), said it is possible to achieve a clean voters’ roll, as they have time to clean it up and make sure that it is accurate.

Hopwood, however, suggested that for it to be achieved, one must use a format through which they can easily spot the discrepancies and have the voters’ roll released in this format to the public at large.

“Information surrounding the location of the voters’ roll must be clear as well,” said Hopwood, and that the nation is yet to see the contents of the new electoral law.

Kenya’s governance and anti corruption specialist, Tom Mboya said it is important to ensure that the body dealing with the electoral process is not biased.

“It is hard to legislate but if there are obvious links to any political party, it will be hard for people to have allegiance and ensure electoral integrity,” Mboya said.

In congruence with his statement, David Coltart, the former Minister of Education of Zimbabwe said the appointment of the electoral body itself must be transparent.

“People should be able to scrutinise the body in public and thus avoid manipulation of the electoral process,” Coltart said.

Source : The Namibian