ECN denies ‘illegally’ transferring voting material to unknown location

The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) has refuted claims by the Landless People’s Movement (LPM) that its officials and the police illegally transferred voting material to an unknown place at Keetmanshoop on Friday

ECN chief electoral officer Theo Mujoro, in a statement released on Saturday, said officials were instead assisting the police to carry equipment prepared for the issuance of duplicate voter cards for storage.

LPM supporters confronted the police on Friday night, accusing them of smuggling voting material in the wake of the Keetmanshoop rural by-election over the weekend.

“The commission would like to state that such allegations are baseless and devoid of any truth. Another falsehood being circulated on different media is that the ECN is planning to issue new voters’ cards. This is totally untrue.

“The exercise is only applicable to the issuance of duplicate voter registration cards to already registered voters in the Keetmanshoop rural constituency whose voter registration cards are lost, destroyed or for any reason are illegible,” Mujoro said.

Allegations of registering new voters surfaced on Saturday morning in a video in which LPM leader Bernadus Swartbooi said registration was being done without consulting the residents of Keetmanshoop.
However, the ECN said it is empowered by Section 35 of the Electoral Act, Act 5 of 2014 to issue duplicate voters’ cards on 13 and 14 May, in the Keetmanshoop rural constituency.

“Therefore, in the interest of voters, the issuance of duplicate voter registration cards will continue as planned in order to afford an opportunity to voters who need duplicate voter’s cards to obtain such,” Mujoro said.

The Keetmanshoop by-election was necessitated after LPM expelled councillor Gerrit Witbooi in February.

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