No date for Bukalo Local Authority election yet

RUNDU: No date has been set for the Local Authority elections for Bukalo in the Zambezi Region yet.

Bukalo is situated some 40 kilometres east of Katima Mulilo.

Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) Director Professor Paul Isaak told Nampa on Wednesday that the election date has not been set yet, although it will take place sometime in August.

He also confirmed that the Local Authority elections for Otjinene in the Omaheke Region will be held towards the end of August, but not on the same date as the Bukalo elections.

The Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) will be used in both elections, with simulation exercises on the use of the machines expected to be conducted during the course of this month.

By-elections will be held for the first time in the Bukalo Constituency, as it is a newly-proclaimed local authority.

Isaak stated that the climate is now right to host the Otjinene elections – which were previously postponed for political reasons – and expressed optimism that political parties will adhere to the principles of fairness and impartiality during the elections.

The Otjinene election was necessitated by Government’s decision to change the statuses of Otjinene and Oranjemund in the /Karas Region from settlements to towns.

The Oranjemund elections were successfully held, while those in Otjinene were postponed.

The postponement came about when the Swapo-Party and the National Unity Democratic Organisation (NUDO) challenged the registration of over 404 prospective voters prior to the envisaged election in 2012.

The merit of the challenge was the eligibility of the concerned individuals as voters. The challenge was taken to court, where it was struck off the court roll in 2012.

According to the ECN, only those who have lived in a town for 12 months consecutively and who can provide a municipal bill under their name or through sworn statements by others, are eligible to vote in local authority elections.