News and Information

Calls mount for election to be nullified
November 29, 2004

OPPOSITION parties say ballot papers found near Okahandja provide sufficient evidence for the Electoral Commission of Namibia to nullify the just-held Presidential and National Assembly elections.

While today's Regional Council elections have delayed the lodging of the High Court case against the ECN, some opposition parties said they had approached their lawyers and were gathering more evidence to build a watertight case.

"Vote rigging is not new. We have proof that it happened in the past in the Omaheke Region with some Swapo members having more than one registration card. The best thing that can happen now is for the ECN to nullify the elections and come up with a new voters' roll," charged Namibia Democratic Movement for Change leader, Frans /Goagoseb.

He said the only option now was for people to take identity documents along when they voted.

Both /Goagoseb and UDF President Justus //Garoeb said they had lost faith in the election process and the Police.

"It is normal for Swapo to do it (rig) during the elections," claimed //Garoeb.

"The only problem is that we did not have proof in the past. In Swakopmund we had someone who picked up ballot papers of the opposition but she was silenced."

The veteran politician said Swapo could get away with anything because it used State funds through the ECN to defend itself while opposition parties had to cough up huge amounts of money for legal costs to prove their case.

//Garoeb said some ballot boxes had the same number on them and the opposition did not know how many seals the ECN had produced.

As such, he said, even though party agents were present during counting and sealed the boxes, they could be re-opened in the evening.

"While you vote, another box full of Swapo votes is being prepared somewhere. They will doctor it by adding a few opposition votes and replace the original ballot box as they have same numbers. That is why in some constituencies you have more than a 100 per cent turnout," alleged //Garoeb.

Carola Engelbrecht of the Republican Party said:"It's rubbish going on."

"With this case we will see how committed the ECN is to free and fair elections. There is no way we will just drop the matter. We have approached our lawyers already," she added.

A lawmaker involved in the drafting of the Electoral Act said the discovery of the ballot papers was sufficient evidence for the ECN to nullify the results.

//Garoeb said Swapo was aware of the opposition's meagre financial resources and would probably try to exploit the situation by protracting the court case in the hope that it collapsed because of financial constraints.

Phil ya Nangoloh, Director of the National Society for Human Rights, said although shocked his organisation was "not at all surprised" by the discovery of ballot papers near Okahandja.

He said the NSHR had recorded numerous irregularities related to the neutrality, impartiality, transparency and credibility of the entire electoral process.

"It is against this background that we deplored sweeping and premature statements; especially those from EISA, SADC and others that the just-concluded presidential and national assembly elections were free and fair, despite ample evidence to the contrary," Ya Nangoloh said.

On Wednesday, a day before the ballots were discovered, the ECN tried to convince the opposition parties not to go to court.

However, Congress of Democrats Vice President Nora Schimming-Chase said they owed it to democracy to have the votes verified.

The elections gave Swapo a 75,1 per cent victory and Hifikepunye Pohamba 76,4 per cent of the vote.

Earlier the parties said they had enough evidence to prove that the counting process had not been fair, that a number of voters had more than one voter card and that the results had been artificially adjusted to the advantage of the ruling party.

The opposition maintained that it was not the number of the ballot papers that were found that mattered but that the discovery substantiated their earlier claims that the process was flawed.

The election was declared free and fair by the Africa Union (AU) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) observer teams.


    Support Caprivi Freedom
Fill out the form below to become a member of this site and receive our regular newsletter.

First Name
Last Name