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Namibia Election Chief Promises Credible Elections

FILE - China's Premier Li Keqiang, left, talks to Namibia's Prime Minister Hage Geingob as they inspect an honor guard during a welcoming ceremony in Sanya, Hainan province, April 9, 2014.

The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) has implemented measures to ensure the presidential and national assembly elections scheduled to be held on Friday will be credible, according to Paul Isaak, chief executive officer of the electoral body.

Isaak said the electoral commission already has dispatched both “sensitive and non-sensitive” voting materials across the country in readiness to administer the vote.

He said the ECN worked closely with all of the registered political parties in the run-up to the elections.

“We consulted them as our major stakeholders and that means that we are in regular meetings with them. At the same time, [we are handling things] like the ballot papers and the electoral voting machines and all those issues before it is dispatched. That means there is a constant flow of information between the [ECN], as well as political parties,” said Isaak.

Some opposition groups, though, have expressed concern that the ruling SWAPO [formerly the South West African People's Organization] party has been using state resources during campaigns ahead of the elections.

They also accused supporters of the governing party of intimidating and harassing opponents. Officials of the ruling party denied the allegations as unfounded.

Elections chief Isaak said campaign activities monitored by the ECN have been largely peaceful, with a few isolated cases of dispute, which he said is unlikely to undermine the credibility of the vote.

“Whether it is elections or not, Namibia has always had a very peaceful atmosphere and also all the political parties are living peacefully together,” said Isaak. “I do not deny the fact that sometimes here and there, but it was isolated cases where political parties in certain parts of the country are fighting on issues such as where to hoist a flag or where to post a poster.”

Isaak, however, added that individuals engage in acts of violence not sanctioned by the political parties.

He said the electoral body is mandated under the constitution to ensure elections organized by the ECN are free, fair, transparent and credible elections.

“That we take seriously and we are working accordingly,” said Isaak.

He said the electoral body has approved several local and international poll observer groups to monitor the elections on Friday.

Isaak said poll-monitoring groups that have been approved by the ECN include the Southern African Development Community (SADC), election observers from the American embassy and European Union, as well as local poll monitors and NGOs.

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