Many DRC, Mondesa residents miss out on elections

SWAKOPMUND; A large number of residents of the DRC informal settlement and Mondesa residential area in Swakopmund did not vote in the Presidential and National Assembly elections on Friday.

By 21h00 on Friday, about 400 people were still queuing in the dark at the DRC fire brigade and DRC Community Centre waiting to vote.

A queue of about 200 people was also visible at the Meduletu Community Hall in Mondesa at 22h00.

A large number of these voters however gave up after people who had not queued there before 21h00, the official closing time, showed up and started joining the queues.

After the closing of the polls, the police struggled to control the crowd to ensure that only those who were in line before were allowed to vote.

At polling stations such as at the Meduletu Community Hall, there is no fencing and only three or four police officers were responsible for maintaining order at these points.

Chaos erupted when the newcomers arrived and disrupted the orderly queues, leading to many people giving up. Some stayed until around 02h00 but left after that.

On Saturday morning at 05h30, about 40 people were still pleading with the polling officials and the police at DRC Community Centre to allow them to vote.

Those who spoke to Nampa indicated that they were very disappointed that they could not vote.

“I really feel I am benig robbed of democracy for not being allowed to vote,” said Kongeni Shipoke, who suggested that people should be allowed to vote for two days in order to give everyone a chance to make their vote count.

Johannes Ndapuka and Selma Neshuku said there was a need for more polling stations in DRC and Swakopmund as a whole to speed up the election process and enable everyone to vote before the closing time.

“Government must really make a plan so that those of us who did not vote can vote. It is discouraging, especially for a first-time voter like myself,” Joseph Ndhimbulukweni added.

Festus Hawala criticised the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), saying they slowed down the process when compared to the traditional ballot boxes.

“The EVMs are so slow that one person can take 10 minutes to vote, it was not that slow when we were not using the machines at all. I think we must just stop using the EVM and use ballot papers,” a disappointed Hawala said.

In response, the Director of Elections at the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN), Professor Paul Isaak on Saturday said the electoral law only allows those who were in the queue before the closing time to continue voting.

“The elections already closed on Friday, we made sure that everyone who was in line before 21h00 voted,” he said.

Isaak did not comment on questions relating to the lack of fences and the inability of the police to control the crowds.

SOURCE: NAMPA