'Hand in our missing EVMs'

31 October 2019 | Local News

The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) has urged anyone who is in possession of missing electronic voting machines (EVMs), which according justice minister Sacky Shanghala fell off trailer in 2017, to return them or hand them in at their nearest police station.

The ECN also finally admitted that no criminal case was opened with the police, so they could investigate the disappearance of EVMs that were booked out by Shanghala for a Swapo Party Elders Council (SPEC) elective congress at Outapi in 2017.

ECN chairperson advocate Notemba Tjipueja explained in a statement yesterday that they were informed of the loss of the machines on 11 July 2017, after the SPEC congress.

They were told the EVMs fell off a trailer between Windhoek and Outapi.

“The communication noted that the team transporting the election equipment noticed that two ballot units had fallen from the trailer and brought the vehicle to a halt in order to pick up the ballot units.

“The correspondence further mentioned that it later transpired, through communication from the Namibian police in Otjiwarongo, that another ballot unit was picked up by a member of the public along the Okahandja-Otjiwarongo road on 6 July 2017,” Tjipueja said.

According to her, the ECN verified the number of EVMs that were transported to Outapi against the checklist and they confirmed as missing.

She added that after this one ballot unit and one control unit was found near the Mix settlement just outside Windhoek.

“The returning officer of the SPEC election committee (Shanghala) was entrusted with the transportation and safekeeping of the EVMs and has taken full responsibility for the loss of the EVMs. Similarly, the ECN secretariat undermined its own administrative protocols by allowing an external organisation to transport sensitive electoral equipment,” Tjipueja added.

She, however, insisted that the missing EVMs will in no way compromise the integrity of next month's presidential and National Assembly elections.

“The commission would like to inform the Namibian public that it has taken cognisance of the concerns expressed through various mediums by the public on how the missing EVMs may affect perceptions of the credibility and integrity of the forthcoming election process.

“The commission is fully aware of the EVM units that are missing and there is no way that any individual can somehow use the missing EVM units in the forthcoming 2019 presidential and National Assembly elections,” Tjipueja said.





JEMIMA BEUKES

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