Nam could go back to ballot system if EVMs difficult to use

17 Jul 2013 11:40
WINDHOEK, 17 JUL (NAMPA) - There is a possibility that Namibia will go back to using the ballot system if the electorate finds it difficult to use the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) which are expected to be used in next year?s national elections.
The chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN), Notemba Tjipueja said this while responding to questions from the media during a courtesy call by officials from the commission on Prime Minister (PM) Hage Geingob here on Wednesday.
The visit was aimed at introducing the ECN?s new commissioners to the PM, and to brief him on activities undertaken by the organisation recently.
During the visit the media wanted to know whether the commission has made a definite decision on whether to use the EVMs in next year?s elections.
?We want the electorate to take ownership of the process. We want the electorate to accept the use of the EVMs, thus it depends on them for this process to work. We want everybody to be part of the process so that we move together,? she said.
The ECN chairperson reiterated that the manner in which the electorate will respond to demonstrations on the use of the machine, to voter education and to any by-election which the commission will hold with the EVMs will determine whether the machines are used in next year?s elections.
She indicated that if the electorate is ?responsive?, the commission will move ahead with the use of the EVMs.
?We continually liaise with our political liaison committee which has representatives from all political parties. They also have to be ready for the process and thus far, they have been moving along with us in this process,? Tjipueja explained.
She also pointed out that if voters find it difficult to use the EVMs, it would not affect when the elections will be held.
Also responding to the discussion, Geingob said the time for electronic governance has come and it cannot be avoided ?forever?.
?So it is for us to familiarise and allow ourselves to be trained and to use the machines properly if it works. If we say it is wrong, then we can discard it,? he noted.
Meanwhile, Tjipueja said the commission will not meet the deadline for voter registration which is 31 August 2013 as it still waiting for results of a report from the Delimitation Commission.
?We are presently awaiting the finalisation of the Delimitation Commission report which has been submitted to the President. If there are any changes made to regional boundaries or constituencies that will have to be included in our general voter registration, it could affect our work,? she said.
The Prime Minister indicated that President Hifikepunye Pohamba will provide feedback on the report 'soon', but could not say when exactly this is expected.
The Delimitation Commission is a three-member body appointed by the president to make suggestions as to how Namibia should be administratively divided, considering only geographical changes like population growth and migration, but not discriminating along ethnic lines.
The report was handed over to Pohamba on 04 July this year, within the given timeframe of six months from the day of the Delimitation Commission's commissioning on 07 January this year.