Shanghala Says New Voting Machines Could Cause Instability

THE chairperson of the Law Reform and Development Commission, Sacky Shanghala, says the Electoral Voting Machines cannot be trusted and will disturb the peace in the country should they crash.

He was speaking yesterday in response to the Electoral Commission of Namibia’s (ECN) stance on Tuesday that EVMs would be used despite concerns raised by the public and political parties that they are yet to be well-versed in the use of these machines.

Shanghala pointed out that the Indians use the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) with the EVMs to ensure transparency. This comes after the Indian court last year ruled against the sole use of EVMs, in the wake of discrepancies.

The VVPAT is a system that makes elections more transparent because it is tamper-proof and can be used with the EVMs.

“Without the paper trail, how can voters be assured that the machines have not been pre-programmed to do anything else?” said Shanghala, making reference to failed elections in Kenya and Malawi that had reported flaws with the results and machines.

Ex-director of elections, Gerhard Totemeyer, said the EVMs should not be used for the November elections but be introduced gradually during the bi-elections or local authority elections.

“It is aisable that the ECN sticks to the traditional method of voting for the upcoming elections, as people are not educated enough about these machines,” said Totemeyer.

Speaking to The Namibian yesterday, ECN director of elections, Paul Isaak, said the EVMs will definitely be used for the upcoming elections. “We are in the process of getting the extra 3 400 EVMs as they will be used in November and the current machines will be used for the mock elections.”

Isaak said the idea of EVMs was introduced in 2004.

The ECN is conducting refresher training for the education officers, who will then do voter education.

Source : The Namibian