Emotions are running high as Namibians anxiously await the final release of yesterday’s regional council and local authority election results. Some results started trickling in late last night, while the final outcome is only expected later today.
At least 1.4 million Namibians were eligible to vote in the regional council elections, while 451 870 had registered to vote in the local authority elections. With Swapo already declared winners of the uncontested constituencies of Mankumpi, Nkurenkuru and Tondoro in Kavango West region and Uuvudhiya in Oshana, the focus has been on the remaining 117 regional councils and 57 local authorities.
“From my source on the ground, it seems we are headed for organised, orderly and peaceful elections. I hope the counting will be the same too. Kudos to the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN). No complaints from any party so far,” political analyst Ndumba Kamwanyah told New Era yesterday.
Another commentator and director of the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), Graham Hopwood, said voting appeared to have been very slow in many places with long queues forming and voters having to wait several hours.
However, he said, the anecdotal evidence he picked up indicated that many queues were shortening as the day went by.
“From an organisational point of view things seem to have gone fairly smoothly although it is always disappointing to hear that there are problems with the voter verification devices in some polling stations. We have used these machines for close to a decade and by now should have ironed out all the glitches that occur,” Hopwood said.
Addressing the media yesterday, ECN chairperson Notemba Tjipueja expressed gratitude to the thousands of Namibians that stood in long queues across the country.
“As the exclusive election management authority, we take pride in the peaceful manner in which all political contestants went about their campaigns leading up to this day. It is clear manifestation that our democracy has come of age and that our constitutional democracy is being consolidated,” she said.
She said she was happy that about 97% of all polling stations opened on time at 07h00 yesterday with the exception of a few polling stations across the country where challenges were experienced.
Tjipueja said the delays and challenges experienced at the polling stations were largely due to logistical reasons such as problems with voter verification devices or mobile registration kits, especially around the Khomas region.
“Lack of certain material at some polling stations and late arrival of political parties’ agents were some of the challenges that caused delays,” Tjipueja said.
She said the commission had established a total of 4 102 polling stations countrywide.
Of that number, she said, 1 341 were fixed polling stations while 2 761 were mobile polling stations.
Close to 12 200 polling officials, she said, were by yesterday performing electoral duties across the country.