Sunday, November 30, 2014

Namibia: Observers advocates for training of poll officials

African Union (AU) election observers on Sunday recommended continuous training of election staff and simpler voting procedures for Namibia's future elections.

“The AU Election Observer Mission (AUEOM) encourages Namibia's electoral commission to consider simplifying polling station procedures like the voter identity verification process and ensure that training of staff on the use of technology in elections is continuous to further improve their ability to operate the equipment,” Fatuma Ndangiza, head of the AUEOM, said.

“The electoral commission is encouraged to consider limiting the number of voters per polling station to reduce waiting times and overcrowding at some polling stations.”

The AU observers also encouraged the Namibian government to “ratify the African Charter on Democracy and Elections to further strengthen and entrench democratic governance in Namibia in line with its international obligations.

Ndangiza commended Namibia for “taking the bold step” as the first African nation to adopt the use of electronic voter machines.

Like the SADC observer mission, the AU group recommended that a code of conduct be drawn up for media reporting on elections.

Namibia does not have media laws as the media fraternity is self-regulated with a code of ethics and a media ombudsman.

The AU deployed 30 election observers to ten of Namibia's 14 regions.

The AUEOM would compile its final report on Namibia's elections within two months of the announcement of results.

South West Africa People's Organisation (Swapo) presidential candidate Hage Geingob on Sunday afternoon led with 84 percent of the 12.6 percent votes officially released so far followed by McHenry Venaani of the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA) with 7.1 percent.

Hidipo Hamutenya of the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) third in the race with 3.7 percent.

Geingob scored more votes than his ruling Swapo which so far garnered 71.4 percent of votes releases so far (12.6 percent), 3.8

percent less than during the 2009 elections.

The DTA party scored 6.97 percent, up from 3.8 percent five years ago. Third in the race is the RDP with 4.78 percent.

RDP lost 6.53 percent from its 11.3 percent achieved during its 2009 election debut.


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