RDP Claims By-Election Not Free and Fair

THE Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) candidate for the Ohangwena constituency, Vilho Shimooshili, said the by-election held yesterday was not free and fair.

Shimooshili claimed that Swapo Party supporters were campaigning during the election at many polling stations.

He also accused some ECN officials of influencing and threatening the elderly to vote for Swapo so that their monthly pension grants would not be stopped.

“The matter was reported to them (ECN) but what can we do if the laws are not for everyone? The people’s feelings are not important when it comes to the ECN, especially those who belong to the opposition parties,” he said.

The ECN returning officer for Ohangwena constituency, Lisias Kandjene Haiduwa, declined to comment on the claims, saying he was not aware of the matter.

“Nothing has reached my office and there is nothing I can say about such allegations,” said Haiduwa.

The ECN director, Paul Isaak, said there were no major hiccups experienced at most of the polling stations, while describing the performance of the EVMs as satisfactory.

“We have not experienced any major problems with the EVMs and the voters themselves. However, there was one incident reported to us of a certain lady who was assisting more than three elderly people to cast their votes but we have since resolved the issue and everything went back to normal,” said Isaak.

Shimooshili further said that law enforcement agents need to reinforce the country’s laws and put in place a law that prohibits people from campaigning during the elections when the campaign period has closed.

He also said that with the ECN officials influencing the voters to vote for Swapo, he does not think more than 4 000 eligible voters will be able to cast their votes due to the corrupt practices of the ECN officials.

“I do not think the number of voters will be more than 4 000 because ECN is practising corruption at the polling points,” he said.

Shimooshili was confident about winning the elections.

“I think I am the winner here and I am sure about that and I will continue to lead Ohangwena constituency. I want to unite Ohangwena region,” he concluded.

Efforts to get comment from the Swapo candidate, Johannes Hakanyome proved futile.

The chairperson of the ECN, Notemba Tjipueja, who was speaking at a press conference at Ohangwena regional offices, said the elections started off well, with all the machines functioning properly.

She said most of the people, including the elderly, were understanding the use of the electoral voting machines.

When The Namibian visited most of the polling stations, the voter turnout was impressive.

Most of the registered voters at the polling stations were elderly people.

The EVM process was also a challenge to many, especially the elderly and the youth who did not know how to use the machines and needed assistance to cast their votes.

The Ohangwena by-election was slow at some points, especially where the elderly were the majority.

More than 60% of the registered voters were expected to cast their votes yesterday. The polling stations were expected to close at 21h00.

There were 33 fixed polling stations, with 122 election officials in the constituency. About 11 300 people registered in the constituency for the by-election.

Source : The Namibian