By Megameno Shikwambi
The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) has notified that it is currently grappling with the headache of procuring enough vehicles in order to conduct a smooth voter registration process.
At a press briefing held this week, ECN said the supplementary registration will commence two days from today (Friday).
But the ECN requires a total number of 856 vehicles to be assigned to registration officials, including regional coordinators, supervisors of registration, IT technicians, and logistical personnel as well as the registration teams.
At the moment it has been able to secure 712 government vehicles, leaving a shortfall of 145 vehicles.
In alleviating vehicle shortages, the ECN says that it has devised a Plan B whereby it will resort to contracting private citizens with suitable vehicles to assist in the transportation of personnel and registration material during the upcoming registration process.
“As I speak the ECN has set in motion the implementation of Plan B and it is now apparent that the required number of GRN vehicles (about 656) cannot be secured.
Although transport still remains a challenge, it is worth mentioning that all regional management teams have already received vehicles and are already in the field, making preparations for the commencement of the registration process on 8th July 2019,” said Advocate Notemba Tjipuena, chairperson of ECN.
In order to conduct a successful voter registration process, it is crucial that the ECN secure sufficient number of vehicles for the transport logistics of its registration team as well as the registration material and equipment
“In this regard the ECN has submitted the transport requirements to the government, offices, ministries and agencies to avail vehicles for the SRV exercise.
With regard to the specialised transport requirement, the ECN said it managed to secure five trucks and two helicopters.
The helicopters are used in certain inaccessible areas of the Kunene region where road infrastructure is almost non-existent, the ECN said.
The Zambezi regional council is also said to have committed two boats to be used in the flood prone areas of the region.
At the same time, ECN has said that it is currently preparing a supplementary registration of voters (SRV) in preparation for the presidential and National Assembly elections that will be held on 27 November this year.
In terms of Section 38 (1) of the electoral Act, the SRV will be conducted over 18 days from the 8th to the 27th of July as duly proclaimed by President Hage Geingob, ECN said.
ECN has so far held the voter and civic education campaign launch, which took place on 17 May 2019 under the theme “Promoting Inclusive Participation”.
The ECN used this occasion as a platform to promote voter and civic education, create public awareness on elections and democracy and to foster political tolerance.
Also in preparation for the forthcoming national elections the ECN said it has embarked on “a broad-based multi-sectorial collaboration effort”.
Presently, the total number of voters on the national voters’ register as at 3rd of July 2019 stands at 1 235 020. The provision of services for registration and polling was undertaken without the inclusion of government officials.
“In terms of the 2019 election calendar, the proclamation and gazetting of the dates of SRV is scheduled to be published on 28 June 2019.
Meanwhile the electoral tribunals are expected to deliver their verdict on objections lodged with the courts during the period 9th to the 24th of September and only then could the final voters’ registers be determined and finalized.
“The Electoral Act provides for registered voters, registered political parties and organisations to be afforded an opportunity to appeal against the electoral court in terms of section 33(1)(a)(b) and the period to lodge an appeal will be from 20th to the 28th of September 2019. The last day of the ruling by electoral tribunals will be on 1 October 2019,” ECN said.
The voter registration process utilized the biometric voter registration (VRK) deployed by over 700 teams throughout the country and a further 29 points at embassies and consulates around the world.
“The VRKs collect data in the field, and this data is often transferred to the central server for processing. The processing includes searching for duplicates through ID and fingerprint matching,” said Tjipuena.
The 13th November 2019 has been determined as the date on which voting will take place at Namibia’s foreign missions as well as voting for sea going personnel, the ECN notified.