NEFF skeptical over electronic voting machines

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Windhoek

The Namibian Economic Freedom Fighters (NEFF), who failed to secure a single seat in last year’s National Assembly and Presidential elections, say they are ready for the upcoming regional and local authority elections slated for November.

The NEFF has qualms though with the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) to be used without paper trails. The Director of Elections, Professor Paul Isaak, was quoted last week saying the upcoming elections would be conducted without a voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT).

“We have this doubt about the EVMs without paper trials. I don’t know whether Swapo is the enemy of democracy or what. You cannot force people to use something that is not verifiable and claim to have everything free and fair,” NEFF National Coordinator Kalimbo Iipumbu said on Monday.

“I think somewhere this thing will come to an end and someone must be responsible to answer to these questions. We’re just doing it because it is elections, but using EVMs without paper trails is something that is really questionable,” he added.

Prof Isaak was further quoted as saying the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) does not object to using the voting machines with a paper trail, but there are factors that should be considered.

“The ECN is for the VVPAT but there are other factors at play, such as the readiness of the Indians to modify our EVMs to have a paper trail and also when the line ministry decides to put into effect the amended Section 97 of the Electoral Act, which allows for the use of a paper trail,” Isaak said, adding that the ECN will eventually use the paper trail, but he could not say by when this would happen.

The NEFF, which is styled along the lines of controversial South African politician Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), says they will focus on winning seats in the municipal elections, rather than regional council elections.

NEFF members also wear red berets and use the same logo as the EFF, which gained over one million votes in South Africa’s recent general elections.

“We want to look at local authorities, because this is where we really want to make an improvement. Regional councilors or constituency councilors are just there to represent the government, but they are not really the implementers. We want to make sure we … have councilors at local authorities to improve the living standards of people at township level,” Iipumbu said.

The NEFF is currently identifying candidates to contest the municipal elections.

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