Minister of Information and Communication Technology Tjekero Tweya has confirmed that Friday will not be a public holiday, as the nation goes out to vote for local authority and regional councilors of their choice.
His assurance put to bed speculation on social media suggesting Friday is going to be a public holiday, “because people are going to vote.”
“There is no public holiday. There is no need for a public holiday. People must just go and vote and go back to produce. It will only take five minutes,” said Tweya, who explained that with electronic voting, the long voting process is something of the past.
Asked about potential long queues at polling stations which may take longer than five minutes – as was seen last year – the information minister was optimistic that the voting process would be less cumbersome compared to last year’s presidential and parliamentary elections.
“It will be improved. There will be more machines available compared to last year, as some places will not have elections,” he stated.
Director of the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) Professor Paul Isaak noted that the Electoral Act only makes provision for the presidential and parliamentary elections to be declared a public holiday. As a result, the local authority and regional council election on Friday will be a working day.
“I’m not fearful that there will be long queues, because of the EVM’s (electronic voting machines),” Isaak said.
He added that the ECN has mechanisms in place to address the problem of long queues, such as setting up extra polling stations at highly populated areas.
Out of the 121 constituencies, 26 are not being contested. In addition, five local authorities have one political party running for office, which means that party will automatically be declared the winner.
“A significant number of voters have been reduced as a result of this,” Isaak said. The polling stations open at 07h00 and will close at 21h00. However, voters who are in the polling stations after nine will not be denied the chance to vote,” he confirmed.