Can Shaama Bell the Cat: Some MPs think not

• By Erasmus Shalihaxwe

Running the electoral body in Namibia as the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) Chief Electoral and Referenda Officer is like trying to bell the proverbial cat.

This has been the case with Moses Ndjarakana, who served from 2008 to 2013. Ndjarakana’s tenure was marred by controversy when he was heavily scrutinised after the 2009 national elections, which the opposition political parties claim were rigged.

The RDP dragged the ECN to the High Court, seeking to nullify the election results. At the time, RDP declined to take up its seats in the National Assembly in protest of the election results.

The case ended in the Supreme Court, where chief justice Peter Shivute noted that although there were administrative errors, they did not warrant a reason to nullify the election results because they did not influence the final results.

“The various administrative mistakes committed by Electoral Commission of Namibia officials and polling officers were not so serious.

“Therefore, the results and outcome of the November 2009 National Assembly elections were not affected by these administrative mistakes,” said Shivute.

Ndjarakana’s successor Paul Isacks brought in the controversial electronic voting machines without paper trail in 2014.

The ECN ignored opposition parties’ protests in 2014 when the EVMs were deployed for the first time. Isaak told the media that the machines were in good working order.

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