SADC observer mission declares elections transparent, credible

WINDHOEK; The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Electoral Observer Mission (SEOM) has declared the 2014 Presidential and National Assembly elections free, fair, transparent, peaceful and credible.

Members of the mission held a meeting with various stakeholders on Sunday to share its preliminary findings on the general elections which took place on 28 November.

The Head of the mission, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) created a conducive environment for the undertaking of the elections, which also demonstrated its readiness and state of preparedness.

She said the pre-election phase was generally peaceful, noting that there were a few isolated incidents of intimidation and violence. These incidents were however dealt with adequately by law enforcement agents.

“Campaigns were generally held peacefully, demonstrating a reasonable level of political tolerance and political parties were free to campaign in all parts of the country without hindrance,” she added.

The SEOM however noted that it observed delays in the opening of some polling stations due to polling officials’ lack of clarity on the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), which was due to failure to operate and consistent breakdown of the verification devices in some cases.

The SEOM recommended that the ECN and other stakeholders intensify civic and voter education throughout the electoral cycle. It said the commission should also provide a special voting day for security and law enforcement personnel, as well as essential workers.