By Catherine Sasman
“This is wishful thinking if people think this is the last time I will be in the National Assembly,” said Herero Paramount Chief and NUDO president, Kuaima Riruako.
Riruako resigned from the National Assembly at the beginning of this month, saying that he would rather spend time in the field campaigning for the forthcoming national elections next year, than sit in Parliament for two to three months.
“I have to campaign firmly and make sure that what needs to be done by the campaigners is done,” he said.
Riruako said that he had travelled to Rundu, the south and other parts of the country, with an eventual trip to the north in the pipeline.
“No-one is restricted to campaign in certain areas; I want to use this opportunity,” he said.
Asked what NUDO envisages to gain from non-traditional strongholds of the party, he said: “People in other regions are crying that we should go there, and a balance of power must be there.”
The party, he said, would concentrate on a wide range of issues in its campaign.
“If we fight correctly and do the job in the correct way, we can get up to 20 members in Parliament,” he said optimistically.
He also made an “early appeal” to the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) to have electronic voting machines at all polling stations come the elections.
“The electronic system must be implemented if we want a democratic society.”
The ECN, said Riruako, apparently reported a lack of funds to implement the electronic voting equipment, but Riruako urged donors to fill the gap.
ECN Director Phillemon Kanime, however, said that the ECN never had any discussions with Riruako or NUDO pertaining to the electronic voting equipment.
But he did express his reservations on whether or not the electronic system would be rolled out for next year’s election.
“Buying the equipment is not the issue,” said Kanime. What is at issue, he said, is that the ECN had not yet had the opportunity to familiarise President Hifikepunye Pohamba with the electronic device and that therefore, it would in all likelihood not be implemented for the 2009 elections.
This, he said, had resulted in everything, regarding the electronic voting device, being put on hold.
Riruako would not comment on who would step in as the successive NUDO representative in Parliament for the remaining period before the national general elections, merely stating that he would have to consult with his colleagues first.