Africa’s first electronic voting praised

A parliamentary observer mission lauded Namibia on Sunday for introducing electronic voting on the African continent, while the country’s voters await the election results.

“Namibia must be congratulated, notwithstanding some glitches, for having pioneered the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs),” chairman of the SADC Parliamentary Forum (SADC-PF) observer mission Jacob Mudenda said.

“Namibia’s lead can be emulated by other countries in Africa and beyond.

“The SADC-PF observer mission declares Namibia’s elections as having been free, fair, credible, transparent, peaceful and democratic,” Mudenda told reporters.

Like the African Union and Southern African Development Community (SADC) observer mission leaders, Mudenda noted that new technology, like the EVM’s and voter verification scanners, delayed voting as election staff were not very familiar with them.

Mudenda, who is the Speaker of Zimbabwe’s National Assembly, said his observer mission recommended that legislative provisions be made on the timeframe for the electoral commission to officially publish election results. This would “guard against the possibility of conflict and anxiety”, he said.

The parliamentary observers concurred with the AU and SADC observer missions that a binding code of conduct for media election reporting should be introduced.

Similarly to the AU observers, the SADC-PF mission recommended that any amendments to the legal framework for elections should be made a reasonable and adequate time before Election Day.

This would enable the electoral commission to “operationalise and publicise any new legal provisions and to also sensitise the electorate on them to enhance trust and credibility.”

Namibia’s parliament adopted a new election law barely two months before the elections, which was heavily criticised by opposition and civil society.

The electoral commission has not released more election results since early Sunday afternoon.

“We will update soon, as we received quite a number of results a short while ago,” an official of the electoral commission told Sapa.

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Africa’s first electronic voting praised