New push for paper trail

28 December 2018 | Local News

Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani has asked government to consider adopting an audited paper trail to complement the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the country's elections.

Speaking recently at the memorial service of Petrus Iilonga, which was held at the Parliament Gardens, Venaani said it was time for a dialogue on the use of EVMs.

“EVMs should have a paper trail. We need to create a fair playing field,” Venaani said.

Namibia became the first African country to adopt the use of EVMs in its general elections in 2014. The use of EVMs has, however, been a contentious issue, particularly for the opposition who are against the use of these machines without a paper trail.

In June this year, Swapo parliamentarians defended the use of EVMs during a motion introduced by the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) to have the use of the machines abolished.

Speaking in the National Assembly, RDP parliamentarian Mike Kavekotora called for the abolishment of the EVMs and the reintroduction of the manual ballot paper voting system.

“These machines are unreliable, untrustworthy and unsecure and they have in actual fact slowed down the voting, the counting process and the release of election results in Namibia,” he said.

According to Kavekotora, voters are unable to verify if their votes are allocated to the party for which they cast their ballots.

“Above all, EVMs lack evidence in case of a court challenge,” he said.

Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) chief election officer, Theo Mujoro, in a recent interview with Namibian Sun said that EVMs enhance the voting process and that the use of a paper trail would come with its problems.

“From our standpoint, the EVMs have really enhanced the voting process,” he said.

Mujoro also argued that there too many problems associated with the use of a voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) or verifiable paper record (VPR). Mujoro also argued that the kinds of problems faced in India may not be applicable in Namibia.