Power outage at Katima polling stations

27 Nov 2015 22:30pm
KATIMA MULILO, 27 NOV (NAMPA) – Some fixed polling stations in the Katima Mulilo urban and rural constituencies were Friday forced to conduct the election process in total darkness.
Strong winds damaged some poles and disrupted the electricity supply from some parts of Katima Mulilo to the Kalimbeza, Ngoma and Nakabolelwa areas.
This was confirmed by Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) coordinator for Zambezi Region, Alfred Mbukusa, who told Nampa that polling stations, such as those at Kizito, were advised to share a generator with a mobile polling station in its proximity.
The electricity was off from 16h00, with some parts only getting a power supply at 19h30 again. Others remained in the dark.
“Many polling stations were affected. We have however managed to get the regional electricity distributor to sort out this glitch. While the Nored technicians were busy at work trying to reconnect the electricity, we provided some polling stations with generators,” said Mbukusa.
When Nampa visited the polling station at the Katima Mulilo Town Council’s satellite office at Chotto, the team there was using their mobile phones and tablets to check finger markings and read and confirm voter identities, before voters proceeded into the booth, where it was dark too.
The electronic voting machines (EVMs) are powered by batteries, and so were not affected by the power outage.
The team had been operating from a tent all afternoon and when it became dark, they moved their materials into the sub-office’s outside corridor.
According to Mbukusa, the team found it difficult to get the Katima Mulilo Town Council to open the offices so they could connect power cables that would provide them with proper lighting.
“Since sunset, we had been begging the town council officials to come and open their doors for the team to connect to the plugs inside their offices but they were responding in a slow manner. I do not understand why they were being reluctant but the issue has now been sorted out,” Mbukusa said.
No last minute rush of voters was observed at the Chotto sub-office polling station, which is situated in the largest informal settlement of Katima Mulilo.
The polling stations of Katima Mulilo Community Hall and Ngweze Primary School also did not experience any last minute rush of voters queuing up to cast votes by early Friday evening.
Polling stations countrywide closed at 21h00.