Unions representing seagoing personnel at Walvis Bay and Lüderitz expect about 4 000 workers to cast their ballots next Friday for the Presidential and National Assembly elections.
The Namibia Seafarers and Allied Workers union (NASAU) vice president Kavekuire Ndjitaviua said arrangements have been made with fishing companies to ensure that vessels arrive in time for crews to have enough time to go to different polling stations.
“Most companies committed themselves,” he said, adding that there may be “last minute glitches beyond anyone's control” but these should be kept to a minimum.
President of the Namibia Fishing Industries & Fishermen Workers Union (NFI&FWU) Daniel Imbili said he was grateful and delighted about the opportunity for seagoing personnel to vote.
“This is the first time these members are guaranteed an opportunity to vote. In the past it was not like this because their employers would just send the vessels to sea. Now we are all working together - the government, the unions and the companies to ensure the workers vote,” he said.
Chairman of the Namibian Fishing Confederation Matti Amukwa reiterated that vessel operators must put logistics in place to allow workers to vote.
“It could have an economic impact on the industry, but this is only one day every five years and of national significance in which all Namibians, including those that work at sea, participate. Whether the economic impact is negative or positive is immaterial. We have a stable economic and political environment to be grateful for, and to ensure that is sustained, we need to set this time apart to support the elections,” he told The Namibian.
Fisheries and marine resources minister Bernhard Esau recently called on employers at Walvis Bay and Lüderitz to ensure that all seagoing employees vote considering that a special day had been set aside for this purpose.
Polling stations in Walvis Bay will be at the Hosiana Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Kuisebmond Community Hall; while in Lüderitz, the German Hostel Hall will be utilised as a polling station.