By Kuvee Kangueehi
Another blunder by the Director of Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN), Philemon Kanime, led do the postponement of the local authority elections which where scheduled to start this morning at Omuthiya.
Kanime this time around failed to make provision in the elections timetable for any eventualities such as the objections on the voters roll.
The magistrate at Ondangwa only informed Kanime on Wednesday afternoon in writing that the Swapo Party and the Rally for Democracy and Progress had objections to the voters’ roll as the deadline for the objection against inclusion of names was Tuesday.
The Swapo Party objected to 12 registered voters on the list while the RDP objected to 42 registered voters, which made the total of objected voters 54.
The magistrate according to the Act, is required to give notice to all the 54 objected voters so that they can make their presentations to the magistrate.
With the elections scheduled to start today, the magistrate had thus no time to give notice to the objected voters and the law requires that presentations be made to the magistrate within 15 days.
The ECN was thus in a dilemma yesterday morning, not knowing whether to allow the 54 voters to vote or not to participate in the elections.
They could not allow the objected voters to vote because the parties have made objections, but the ECN had no right to bar them from voting because they were not afforded the chance by the magistrate to state their case.
Contacted for comment, Kanime said he did not foresee the objection despite the fact that acts make provision for it. A clearly disappointed Kanime had to inform the ECN officials yesterday afternoon at the town that the elections have been postponed.
All the mobile teams that were making preparations at the various polling stations had to be called back as the ECN officials started packing their belongings to return to Windhoek.
As the news filtered through the small town of Omuthiya that the elections had been called off, people were shocked and disappointed, as many people were hoping to go to the polls to bring the situation back to normal.
The Governor of the Oshikoto Region, who is also the Regional Councillor of Omuthiya, Penda ya Ndakolo, said he is happy about the decision that the ECN commissioners have taken, because the elections could not have been free and fair if they had gone ahead as scheduled.
Ya Ndakolo said that people would never be happy with an outcome of elections if proper procedures were not followed.