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Human Rights Group Says It Finds More Irregularities In Namibian Election

In Namibia, an electoral monitoring group says it has discovered more irregularities in the country’s recent presidential and parliamentary polls.

The ruling party, SWAPO, won an overwhelming victory. The Windhoek-based National Society for Human Rights, NSHR, says ruling party supporters drew the boundaries of 107 constituencies to ensure a victory for the ruling party. It also complains that the voters’ roll was released late – less than 72 hours before voting.

The NSHR says media reports show that well over half of the 860 vehicles acquired with public funds were enlisted to boost the electoral campaign of the ruling party.

In its most recent press release, the group says on November 25th, at least 22 ballot papers were found in the bush south of Okahandja, about 60 kilometers south of the capital. Some of the ballots, all of which had been cast for opposition parties, had been burned. The NSHR says the burned ballots “constitute just part of the ‘corpus delicti’” – a legal term meaning body of the crime” -- that “something very serious and extraordinary went wrong with the electoral process, and as such...[the election] can not reasonably be declared free and fair.”

The human rights organization says it will be presenting these complaints in court – and hopes the judge will be competent, independent and impartial. Namibia’s electoral commission, as well as observers from the Southern African Development Community (SADC), says the polls were free and fair. The SADC Parliamentary Forum Observation Mission says critics should have brought some of their complaints, such as those regarding voter registration, to their attention before the election.

English to Africa reporter William Eagle spoke with a spokeswoman for the National Society for Human Rights, Dorkas Nangolo-Phillemon.