Officials voice mixed feelings on election day

Election officials expressed mixed feelings in Namibia’s electoral process on Wednesday, while commending the conduct of voters and their determination to have their voices heard.

Nampa spoke to presiding officers after 21h00, when many polling stations in the capital were still operational, with many voters determined to cast their ballots.

On face value, the turnout throughout the day was impressive, with Namibians from all walks of life braving the unforgiving heat and long queues to cast their ballot.

Wilbard Iyambo, the presiding officer at the Single Quarters police station where around 400 people had already cast their ballots, told Nampa he was impressed by the conduct of the voters.

“At the start over 150 people were already in the queue and it was a smooth process throughout the day. We did not experience a lot of issues,” said Iyambo.

On the downside, the officer expressed concerns about the low youth voter turnout at his polling station.

“I was disappointed about the few young people. They seem to not be educated about how to vote in the Regional Council and Local Authority elections,” he stated.

He also said young people who went through the station had little knowledge about the magnitude of the elections.

Meanwhile, the last man standing in a queue at Single Quarters, John Haitembu was determined to cast his vote.

“I will not feel good if I do not vote because the victory of our candidate for councillor and the party should come through our voices,” he said.

The agency also caught up with Nkandi Kauluma, the presiding officer at the Base FM polling station in the Katutura Central Constituency.

Kauluma complained about the vote verification process, saying it was not reading some voters’ cards, leading to delays as they were forced to register voters manually.

This situation discouraged some voters and they left the station without voting.

In the same constituency, the presiding officer at Theo Katjimuine Primary School, Robinson Ijambo said his polling station did not face any challenges, although the process the voters went through was a bit slow. He said it took seven to eight minutes to complete the whole process once they enter the polling station.

On average, a voter in Katutura stood in a queue for about three hours before making it to the voting booth, the officers said.

Meanwhile, at the Greenwell Bus Stop polling station, presiding officer Tutala Nghipangelwa also complained about the process of stamping the ballots, saying it was time consuming.

“Around 800 people voted at our polling station although the queue was long and people were standing in the sun for long. I would encourage the ECN to, in future, put the polling station where there is shade for voters,” said Nghipangelwa.

Source: Namibia Press Agency