Neff Will Not Contest Regional Elections

THE Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters has announced that it will not participate in the forthcoming local and regional elections because of the use of electronic voting machines that have no paper trails.

In a media statement released this week, NEFF’s national coordinator Kalimbo Iipumbu announced the party’s decision, saying the NEFF will not engage in “hunger politics” and that Namibia’s democracy was being “hijacked”. Iipumbu says that if government can have EVMs with paper trails by the time of the elections, only then will they participate in the vote.

Opposition parties last year said they had concerns regarding the use of EVMs without a verifiable paper trail, doubting their reliability. After failing to secure a seat in parliament at last year’s Presidential and National Assembly elections, the NEFF blamed their predicament on the EVMs, saying the machines were manipulated to ensure that their votes were not registered on the system.

“We have seen the results of the EVMs without a paper trail and this has simplified the way democracy is put under attack in the country. Today they have increased the registration fee to participate in the upcoming elections. We want to urge Namibians to avoid miserable moments. It is about knowing what action will follow when the nation is tired of all the evils the elites are busy with,” he said.

He said his party wants to protect the country from becoming like Zimbabwe, Kenya and Nigeria and is prepared to fight for “the multiparty system in the country, which will allow people with a common vision to set up political parties of their choice”. Iipumbu said he knows “of the strategy Swapo is using but says there will be an end to its activities”.

“NEFF will not participate in an election to be conducted with an EVM machine without a verifying paper trail. As a party that believes in the principles of democracy and ready to defend the Constitution of the country, we will engage with traditional authorities and churches to educate and alert them on the road the country is on,” he said.

The Electoral Commission of Namibia’s director Paul Isaacks yesterday said the ECN only adheres to the existing Act that requires the use of EVMs.

He said the commission was in the process of acquiring the paper trails, which are currently being tested in India before they are introduced to the local market gradually.

“We are waiting for approval, although we will still have to use the elections without a paper trail (this year), ” he said.

On the increase in the registration fees, Isaacks said it was the decision of parliament and the ECN was simply inplementing it.

“The registration fee is N$2 500 per constituency per candidate,” he said, adding that the fee was N$100 in the previous Act.

Source : The Namibian