SADC Observers happy with conduct of political rallies

WINDHOEK; The Southern African Development Committee (SADC) Electoral Observer Mission has described Namibia’s political party rallies as peaceful and orderly.

During a media briefing on the observers activities and overview of the mission here on Monday, South Africa’s Deputy Minister of International Relations and chairperson of the mission, Luwellyn Landers said they are happy with how the political rallies have been conducted all over the country.

Namibians will go to the polls on Friday to vote in Presidential and National Assembly elections.

He said that although the mission is aware of some physical altercations among members of various political parties at rallies held on the same or different days, those incidents cannot warrant the observers to declare the election process as violent.

“The mission’s observation is that the rallies have been both peaceful and orderly and thus far, the SADC Electoral Observer Mission is able to report on the positive climate that pervades the campaigning in all 14 regions of Namibia,” said Landers.

With these developments on the ground, the mission remains positive and confident that the elections will go on as planned by the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN).

Landers indicated that a total of 97 observers have since been deployed in 24 teams on 15 November 2014 after they were trained on the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs), including election observation, code of conduct and knowledge of principals and guidelines of SADC.

The mission has engaged with stakeholders to ascertain the readiness of the elections, political parties, civil organisations, academics, including Government.

“Before deployment to the regions, the mission had a privilege to observe the Windhoek West by-election held on 14 November 2014, when they, for the first time, saw how the EVMs are used,” said Landers.

He declined to divulge the mission’s stand on the court application brought by some opposition parties to stop the national elections, only saying that a statement with the mission’s findings on the elections will be made public on 30 November 2014.

In the urgent application, the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) and three other litigants claim that it is unconstitutional to use EVMs for elections without a paper trail.

Submissions were heard in the High Court on Tuesday morning to postpone the elections to February 2015 because of the absence of a paper trail.

Judge Kobus Muller will deliver the verdict in the case on Wednesday.