15 Jan 2019 14:20pm
WINDHOEK, 15 JAN (NAMPA) Popular Democratic Movement leader, McHenry Venaani has stood by his demand for electronic voting machines (EVMs) to be fitted with Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail devices for the 2019 Presidential and National Assembly elections.
He made the demand during the memorial service of ex-Robben Island political prisoner, unionist and politician, Peter Iilonga, who died in December last year.
The PDM president said this will ensure that the playing field is level ahead of the elections.
The paper-trail facility allows the verification of votes through a receipt that serves as proof that the vote cast was for a particular political party or candidate.
It is our fervent demand and request that the voting machines that we are going to use next year should have a verifiable audited paper trail for the elections to have the highest standards of free and fairness, Venaani said.
The request did not sit well with Swapo deputy secretary general Marco Hausiku, who was of the opinion that national leaders have adopted a tendency of addressing political issues at platforms intended for the mourning of departed heroes and heroines.
Responding to questions sent to him by Nampa recently, Venaani stood firm in his resolve.
It was an event of national importance and as part of state crafting, I had to be on the record as the government is ignoring the issue, he stated.
He added: My maturity and statesmanship will never address an off the mark issue. We are being ignored by the State.
Opposition parties have questioned the Indian-made machines reliability and credibility, arguing that room for them to be pre-programmed to favour a certain political party or candidate exists.
The Rally for Democracy and Progresss Mike Kavekotora is also one of the proponents of VVPAT-fitted EVMs.
At the moment, EVMs do not guarantee elections that cannot be tempered with, he said.
We have been on record as the RDP questioning the reliability, transparency and integrity of the EVMs without VVPAT, Kavekotora said in an interview.
Last year, the Electoral Commission of Namibia challenged any stakeholder or any member of the public to come forth and demonstrate how the EVMs can be manipulated to favour or disadvantage a political party or candidate.