Parties Race Against Time for Elections

THE Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) says it is ready for the upcoming elections, despite the fact that President Hifikepunye Pohamba has not yet announced an official date.

Director of operations at the ECN Theo Mujoro said there is no specific timeline for the President to announce the election dates.

Pohamba is in the United States of America, attending the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

He also said parties cannot submit names of their presidential candidates until the President announces the election dates, which have to be gazetted before the process starts in terms of the Electoral Act.

Traditionally, Presidential and a National Assembly elections in Namibia take place end of November.

“At the moment, the parties have not yet submitted their lists and we won’t know until the day of the announcement. We are in consultation with the Office of the President and at any moment now we will get feedback to announce it publicly,” he said.

“All other dates for the elections follow the official announcement of the actual date of the elections,” said Mujoro, adding that for now, Namibians can be rest assured that the elections will take place during the last week of November.

Although there has been concern that the delay in announcing the date of elections might affect preparations, Mujoro said the ECN has done its homework when it comes to logistics.

“Over 60% of our preparatory work is complete as far as logistics are concerned,” he said.

Mujoro said he is also confident that the elections will only take a day because of the new electronic voting machines and that the results will be announced within a shorter time frame.

“During the last elections, we took a week to announce the results. This time around the announcement of the results will not be delayed,” he said.

Several parties such as the DTA of Namibia and National Unity Democratic Organisation of Namibia (Nudo) have called on President Pohamba to announce the date of the elections, so that they can prepare and start their campaigns. DTA president McHenry Venaani claimed recently that the ruling party had an unfair aantage because they know the exact date of the election and have crafted their plan accordingly.

Secretary general of Nudo Asser Mbai yesterday said Pohamba was deliberately delaying the announcement of the date to put the opposition parties at a disaantage.

“The Swapo party just wants to ambush our plans. What is the reason for the delay in the announcement of the date of the elections? Some of our party’s activities and preparedness depend on the announcement and we are still waiting,” he said. Mbai said Nudo is expected to publicly announce its party list on 3 November.

However, the South West Africa National Union leader, Usutuaije Maamberua, said they were warming up for the elections, despite the fact that the date is yet to be announced. The Rally for Democracy and Progress’ spokesperson Jesaya Nyamu said the actual date of the announcement did not matter as long as they are able to publicly announce their candidates.

Source : The Namibian