Venaani rebukes 'misbehaving' Magufuli

The leader of the opposition is not happy with SADC's role in next week's Namibian elections.

21 November 2019 | Politics

The Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) is yet to receive a response from SADC chair John Magufuli, who was urged to intervene in the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) without a paper trail in next week's general election.

PDM leader McHenry Venaani said this was “massive misbehaviour” from Magufuli.

He also took issue with the presence of former Zimbabwean minister of cyber-security, threat detection and mitigation, Patrick Chinamasa, as part of the SADC observer mission for the elections. He called on SADC to provide answers on what Chinamasa is doing in Namibia, while he is not a SADC executive member.

“Chinamasa lost his parliamentary position in 2017, and on that basis he is not an executive. We know the ties that Chinamasa has with ZANU-FP as its former operative, who works only in its interest, and how they trample on the rights of opposition parties,” Venaani said.

In a strongly worded statement, he said he raised a number of issues with the SADC observer mission yesterday.

“These include the use of EVMs in the upcoming election without a paper trail, the access to information that is lacking in our country, access for opposition parties to election results collation centres in the 121 constituencies and the fact that the election results of international missions (special voting) are yet to be released officially.

Last month the ECN announced that EVMs it “loaned” to Swapo were lost.

According to Swapo, these EVMs were used in July 2017 at a Swapo Party Elders' Council (SPEC) elective congress. According to now former justice minister Sacky Shanghala, the machines fell off a trailer.

Venaani said they were asked by Magufuli to write him two letters, but he has not even bothered to give them a response.

“By doing so he is denying us the right to be heard and as the SADC chair this is massive misbehaviour from him.”

Venaani said Magufuli could have relegated the matter to the SADC troika on defence and security. During a media briefing in Windhoek this week, Zimbabwean defence minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, who is heading the SADC observer mission, said this issue is receiving attention.

She added they will be working with other observers and will raise concerns together.

“Let me urge all registered voters to maintain this positive legacy of participatory democracy, by turning out in high numbers on election day. I encourage all stakeholders to ensure that these elections are conducted in a peaceful, free, fair transparent and credible manner,” she added.

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