The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) still needs 600 vehicles for Friday’s one-day national elections, a situation which has left the commission with no choice but to approach private vehicle owners to avert an election crisis.
Following the ECN’s announcement last week that for it to successfully carry out the upcoming elections, it needs about 2 800 vehicles, the commission’s director for operations Theo Mujoro yesterday informed New Era that there was still a shortfall of 600 vehicles as the ECN only had 2 200 vehicles for use in the elections.
“We received most of the vehicles we need, apart from some regions where we have a shortfall. We will engage private vehicle owners to meet our shortfall. The shortfall varies from region to region but in total we need about 600 vehicles,” said Mujoro.
He said private vehicle owners were being engaged to make use of their vehicles at a fee to be agreed upon by both the commission and the vehicle owners.
On Friday 1.2 million voters will go to the polls to vote in both the presidential and National Assembly elections.
Kunene Region as of yesterday was still in need of 40 vehicles to ensure the election teams in the region have vehicles to take them around the region on Friday. This was confirmed by the ECN’s regional coordinator Ismael Ouseb in Opuwo.
Two of the teams will be making use of two army helicopters to access remote villages that are inaccessible by road.
Ouseb said the region is still in need of 40 vehicles to secure the transport needs of all 141 teams across the region, but added that he remained hopeful that the vehicles would be acquired before Friday as the ECN has already approached line ministries to provide assistance in the form of transport.
“We have strategized on how to handle the mobile teams, a possible plan B is also in place and consultations are underway with various government agencies who could assist us with vehicles,” said Ouseb.
The ECN will man a total of 1 255 fixed and 2 711 mobile polling stations totalling 3 966 across the country.
Similarly, the ECN will deploy 1 255 fixed teams and 825 teams to serve the 2 711 mobile stations, making a total of 2 080 teams across the 121 constituencies nationally. In addition, the ECN appointed 42 regional coordinators and assistant coordinators as well as 121 returning officers.
ECN will deploy approximately 140 IT support staff across the country to provide much needed technical support in the field. All in all, close to 13 000 ECN officials will be deployed to perform duty at various levels of the electoral operations.
ECN is not new to last-minute hitches and it was recently reported that the ECN was still to acquire election materials such as polling booths and chairs less than two months (at the time of reporting) before the much-anticipated national elections.