Namibian election declared peaceful, transparent

Monday, December 7, 2009

Namibia - The recent Namibian elections were characterised by a peaceful, tolerant yet enthusiastic political atmosphere, a Southern African Development Community (SADC) observer mission has said.

"There was clear evidence of vigour and enthusiasm among political leaders and their supporters as they conducted their campaigns," said Head of the SADC observer mission to Namibia Francisco Madeira, who is also Minister for Diplomatic Affairs in the Office of the President of Mozambique.

He said posters, pamphlets, flyers, stickers, T-shirts and other regalia were prevalent and visible throughout the country.

"Therefore, I, on behalf of the Chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, Armando Em¡lio Guebuza, the President of the Republic of Mozambique, hereby declare that the 27 and 28 November 2009 Presidential and National Assembly Elections were transparent, credible, peaceful, free and fair," said Madeira.

The 17-team SADC observer mission had observed that all the political parties were free to hold rallies and meetings, and relevant law enforcement agencies were poised to respond to any threat or disruption of law and order and political party agents expressed satisfaction about the voter verification process.

It also found that most polling stations opened and closed on time while electoral officials explained the procedures to voters who did not understand the voting process. They also provided assistance to the sick, disabled, aged and people with impaired vision.

The use of translucent ballot boxes reinforced the national confidence and trust in the electoral process, said Madeira, who added that the presence of party agents, monitors and observers at the polling stations assured all stakeholders of the transparency of the process.

Law enforcement agencies were also present in all polling stations.

The mission noted that the electoral officers discharged their duties professionally and the law enforcement agencies arrested those who attempted to undermine the electoral process.

It was further impressed by the patience of voters, who were able to express their franchise peacefully, freely and unhindered.

Madeira said the mission had noted the introduction of the electronic voters roll speeded up the voting. This also increased the confidence of the electoral process. The indelible and invisible inks, and the ultra-violet systems were used simultaneously to deter and detect multiple voting.

There were 120 observers in the country during the election drawn from the SADC member states. They comprised members of Parliament, diplomats, civil servants and representatives from the civil society.

Their mandate was to observe elections impartially and independently of any contesting political party or candidate, to comply with the laws and relevant regulations of the Republic of Namibia, not to interfere and/or disrupt the voting process, and not to express their views or opinion on any matter that is subject to the electoral campaign, program or activities.

A detailed report on the presidential and parliamentary elections is expected to be released within a period of 30 days after the announcement of the elections results in line with SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections.