NEFF causes stir at SADC observers’ poll briefing

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WINDHOEK – Members of the Namibian Economic Freedom Fighters (NEFF) did not take kindly to members of the SADC observer mission to Namibia after the observers described Friday’s elections as credible and fair.

Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, the head of the SADC observer mission to Namibia who is also South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, said Namibia’s 2014 presidential and National Assembly elections “were peaceful, transparent, free, fair and credible reflecting the will of the people of the Republic of Namibia.”

However Nkoana-Mashabane’s statement did not go down well with some members of the Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters (NEFF) who disrupted her while she spoke, disputing the elections were free and fair.

NEFF members were silenced by officials before they stormed out of the briefing packed with observers, journalists and diplomats among others.

“I just want to reiterate that there is nothing like a perfect election,” Nkoana-Mashabane said when a reporter commented her statement was not reflective of the fact that many people were unable to vote on Friday.

“Yes, the SADC observer mission observed that some people could not exercise their right to vote because of technical errors,” she admitted.

She however added that the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) had by midday on Friday called a press conference to address this challenge and they went into details as to “what was going wrong and what was going right”.

She also urged Namibians and political parties’ leaders to accept the outcome of the one-day elections.

“Some of our observers also attended that press briefing. But we will say at the end after having observed the elections that elections were generally peaceful, credible, free and fair because there was nobody who was chased away, apart from technical errors which the ECN admitted to by midday of the 28th (November). So there was no shenanigans of hiding anything. They came out and made a public statement,” she said to the applause of the SADC observer team.

Furthermore, Nkoana-Mashabane said the mission observed democratic practices and lessons learnt during Namibia’s 2014 elections.

This includes the professional and transparent conduct of the ECN, political tolerance demonstrated during the campaign period, visibility and general professional conduct by the security personnel towards the electoral process.

By Alvine Kapitako

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