Proof of residence could affect local authority elections

09 Feb 2014 15:20pm
KEETMANSHOOP, 09 FEB (NAMPA) – The requirement of proof of residence to be registered as a voter in local authority elections could affect the results of such elections.
//Karas regional governor Bernardus Swartbooi raised this concern on Friday, saying most people such as students, informal settlers and villagers might not register to vote in those elections, because they do not have water bills to proof their residency in a particular area.
“I am concerned that most people only register for national and regional elections but few register for local authority elections. If this situation continues, the local authority elections and the democratic process will be affected,” the governor stated.
To be eligible for registration and voting in local authority elections, citizens must produce municipal water bills or telephone accounts which show they have been in that town for 12 consecutive months.
Speaking during the first 2014 //Karas Regional Council (KRC) meeting in Keetmanshoop, Swartbooi requested the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) to ensure people who cannot produce proof of residence to register, are not turned away from registration points, because they will be discouraged to go back and register.
“The ECN must be a facilitator of free and fair elections, and must make sure that people register for all the elections,” he remarked.
Late last month, some students from the Namibia Institute of Mining and Technology (NIMT) centre in Keetmanshoop had their voter cards revoked as they were allegedly registered to vote in the local authority election in a town where they have no permanent residency.
Swartbooi also urged the regional councillors in attendance to be actively involved in facilitating voter registration in their constituencies by working closely with ECN officials at registration venues.
On a different note, Swartbooi expressed disappointment in administration officials in the KRC, who allegedly refuse to implement council resolutions and thus hamper progress.
He also revealed that only 72 per cent of posts in the KRC are occupied.
“All the vacant posts must be filled so that people can perform their duties effectively. We will be blamed for continuing to operate with vacant posts,” advised the governor.
Swartbooi then urged parents in his region to strive to raise children with strong values to avoid gender-based violence (GBV) and murders experienced in the region lately.
”I declare this year, the year of family. We must focus on family unity, so that we raise our kids properly. I trust that I have your support, while at the same time I pledge my support to you,” he informed his fellow politicians.