In response to unconfirmed reports suggesting the majority of teachers in Khomas Region voted in favour of a countrywide strike, the Namibia National Teachers’ Union (Nantu) yesterday said the final voting results would only be made public on Monday, September 19.
Nantu secretary general Basilius Haingura yesterday refused to give any indication of the likely outcome of the vote and dismissed rumours doing the rounds on social media that preliminary results obtained at Immanuel Shifidi High School polling station show that government got only three votes, while Nantu – which is in favour of strike action – got 1 027 votes by Tuesday.
Haingura said the rumours are unsubstantiated. The purported voting tally posted on Facebook is “not based on substantive information,” he said.
Voting is expected to continue until Friday, September 16, and the official announcement is expected after votes from all regions have been counted, verified and tallied by those mandated to conduct the ballot, he said.
Haingura said yesterday that the regional results would be announced on September 16, while the national results will only be made public the following Monday, September 19.
He said: “The counting of votes can only take place after the second day of the regional voting process,” adding that all ballot papers would be stored at police stations countrywide.
The country’s teachers are voting on whether to go on strike after government failed to agree to their demand for an 8 percent salary increase.
Hundreds of teachers in the Khomas Region started with the voting process on Tuesday, which ended here yesterday.
The voting process now moves to other regions countrywide.
Haingura, who is currently in Erongo Region, where the voting started yesterday, said teachers turned up in large numbers, as similarly observed in Khomas Region.
“We’re expecting the remaining regions to do the same. I was talking to one of the polling station officials at Immanuel Shifidi, who said they had run out of ballot papers and requested for more to be supplied. That is an indication that teachers are casting their votes in big numbers,” he remarked.
Asked why the polling stations had no police presence, he said, “In fact, we got approval from the Police Inspector General (Sebastian Ndeitunga) that the police can be available at any time if the parties need their service. He said they did not experience any major problems though, as no intimidation or violence has been recorded.
“From the look of things, both Nantu and the government observers are operating together… I think the police service will only be needed during the closure of polls.”
Haingura said they face some challenges in enabling people to vote, as the daily voting period – between 13h00 and 18h00 – is too short.
“We were thinking of extending the voting time, but the government team could not agree. That is the challenge we’re faced with. We expect the government to allow people to cast their votes as long as they are in the queues before 18h00.
“We want to communicate to the government that no person should be turned away, as long as they are in the queue before 18h00. Even during the Presidential and National Assembly elections, they normally used to do that,” he observed.
Teachers in Erongo, Hardap, Kunene and Kavango West regions started voting yesterday. The remaining regions will then follow until next Friday, the last date of voting.