Namibia: Long Wait to Register On Final Day

17 September 2020

and CLEMANS MIYANICWE

THE supplementary voter registration ended on Tuesday night, although some registration points were still registering aspiring voters as late as yesterday morning.

The deadline for registration was 19h00 on Tuesday, how-ever, some people who arrived at registration points before the scheduled closing time waited until the early morning hours of yesterday to register to vote in the regional council and local authority elections scheduled for November.

Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) teams were still issuing voters' cards by sunrise yesterday at registration centres in Erongo, Khomas, Kunene, //Kharas and Otjozondjupa regions.

According to ECN Erongo regional coordinator Amos Nguaiko, the long queues were attributed to people coming to register at the last-minute, com-pounded by technical problems that registration teams encountered.

"The queue was so long that we finished this morning. The people spent the night at the stations but it is officials who suffered the most. These people have been sleeping less than four hours a day since last week. Regulations say the registration points close at 19h00 but we had to serve the people so they could not go away empty-handed," he said.

The last voter's card was is-sued at a church at Kuisebmond at 09h00 yesterday.

In the Kunene region the last registration point at Outjo closed after 04h00 yesterday, according to the ECN regional coordinator for Kunene, Mike Nganjone.

"There was a huge influx of people at registration points in the region. We assisted everyone who came to register. No one was turned away as the people were already in queue by the 19h00 closing time," Nganjone added.

Voter registration at Otji-warongo in Otjozondjupa region ended at 04h30 yesterday morning, according to ECN regional coordinator, Urbans Karumendu.

"The process went well despite challenges with voter registration. Overall, the registration went smoothly in the region with minor delays at some registration points," Karumendu added.

ECN regional coordinator for //Kharas Augustinus Ucham described the turnout by aspiring voters in the region as satisfactory.

"We concluded the voter registrations at the W K Rover Hall and the public library registration points at around 02h00 yesterday morning because of the last-day voter registration rush," said Ucham.

A Windhoek resident who chose to remain anonymous told The Namibian yesterday he stood in line to register at the Rocky Crest High School on Tuesday for more than 10 hours.

"I joined the line around 18h00 and left around 03h20. It was a really long wait," he said.

According to the man, the queue consisted of around 70 people, and each person took about 45 minutes to register. The night was cold and those who came with personal vehicles sat in their cars to keep warm.

"The officers said there were some technical issues and that the machine was getting hot. People were angry but what can you do? You have to register because it was the last day," he said.

Alenda !Naibas waited for six hours to register at Khorixas Youth Hall on Sunday.

"Voting is an important pro-cess and the wait was not in vain," !Naibas emphasised.

TURNED AWAY

A relatively large number of eligible voters who wanted to register under the supplementary voter registration exercise were turned away from registration centres after turning up late on Tuesday night in many parts of the northern regions.

Anna Matheus, a resident of Ongwediva constituency in Oshana region will not be able to vote in the upcoming regional council and local authority elections in November because she could not register.

"I am furious at the fact that I will not be able to vote in November. I arrived here a few minutes after 19h00 and I was turned away by police officers because I was late," she said.

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