LPM, RDP claim daylight robbery

The two opposition parties allege brazen hacking and manipulation of election results.

03 December 2019 | Politics

CATHERINE SASMAN



The Landless People’s Movement (LPM) and Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) have both declared last week’s presidential and National Assembly elections rigged, an allegation denied by the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN).

On Friday, a day before the official election results were released by the ECN, LPM leader Bernadus Swartbooi claimed to have been visited by an intelligence operative who told him that the party would be allotted four parliamentary seats.

According to this information, the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) would have been allotted 10+1 parliamentary seats.

The LPM said the PDM was “selected” by Swapo as the official opposition, that the UDF was “catapulted forward”, that LPM’s votes had to be reduced, and that independent presidential candidate Dr Panduleni Itula “had been robbed” of votes.

According to the official results the LPM did get four parliamentary seats; the PDM got 16.

At Friday’s press briefing the LPM claimed to have received information “on good authority” that five Indian nationals had flown into the country and were stationed inside the ECN’s head office and at a nearby address on Webb Street in Windhoek North, from where elections results were allegedly manipulated.

This was allegedly the reason why the ECN website was switched on and off, and why the announcement of the results was delayed until Saturday evening at around 21:00.

Swartbooi claimed information obtained indicated that the electronic voting machines (EVMs) were “essentially irrelevant”, because an “alternative and parallel” system had been designed and constructed “solely for the purpose of rigging the elections in favour of Swapo Party and those they nominated and selected”.

“In essence, therefore, the 2019 elections in Namibia, as in other elections before, have become not an election, but a selection process conducted from State House and spearheaded by cyber-criminologists from various countries (sic),” Swartbooi charged.

Alleged modus operandi

The LPM said it was reliably informed that the so-called cyber-criminals – or hackers – used a GAP computer after the results had been manipulated and loaded onto the ECN’s server with a USB device.

The party claimed that the results posted outside polling stations were “not being used”, but were merely a tool to rationalise the manipulated results.

“What it tells you is that the painful effort people have put in to garner votes, to put up manifestos, to really sweat to exercise their democratic vote and to compete in this space of ideas, have become irrelevant,” Swartbooi said.

He also criticised election observers, particularly those from the SADC region, for not looking at the integrity of the elections, which he said was “messed up”.

“The system is captured and the deep state is manifested probably at best in the election results,” Swartbooi said.

RDP ‘planted’ voters

The RDP, on Saturday and also before the election results were announced, concluded that the results on the EVMs had been pre-set and predetermined.

It said on election day it had “planted trusted cadres” to vote at various polling stations across the country and later compared the results.

Illustrating the point, RDP president Mike Kavekotora said he had voted at the Rocky Crest High School in Windhoek with 20 other RDP members. Official results showed that the RDP got 10 votes at this polling station.

Another group of 35 RDP members voted at the Rundu ARPO Bambo School, where it was later announced that RDP got six votes.

“What could that be? Daylight robbery and a mockery of the electoral process that is deemed and hailed to be free and fair,” Kavekotora said.

Other anomalies observed, the RDP said, included EVM machines that were switching on and off by themselves during the voting process, random beeping of EVMs, and alleged cancellation of ballots. In some instances, it claimed, there were more votes cast on the EVMs than there were voters who had manually registered before proceeding to vote.

RDP said the occurrence book was only available late on election day, party agents in some instances were intimidated by presiding officers, and votes counted at polling stations did not match the results at certain collation centres.

“We are in the process of collecting more information and engaging other political parties to determine the right course of action. We will not allow Swapo to get away with this massive rigging in the same way they have been getting away with corruption over the past 30 years,” Kavekotora said.

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