The participation of an independent candidate and the candidacy of a woman for president were “unprecedented developments” in Namibia’s electoral history, according to a Commonwealth Observer Group (COG).
The Group, led by former Zambian Attorney-General Musa Mwenye, was deployed to observe the country’s Presidential and National Assembly elections on 27 November last year.
Its final report pointed to NUDO’s (National Unity Democratic Organisation) Esther Muinjangue’s candidacy as being among a number of factors that augur well for the robustness of Namibia’s democracy.
The COG said the election was generally peaceful and voting day activities were transparent and generally well-managed.
It also suggested the sixth multiparty elections since Namibia’s independence were “the most competitive in the country’s electoral history”, given the direct challenge to the governing party from an independent candidate - who emerged from the party.
The Group however said the lack of a voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) was a source of concern for several stakeholders and encouraged the Electoral Commission of Namibia, political parties, civil society and other electoral stakeholders to engage in inclusive post-election dialogue to resolve the issue ahead of future votes.
The final report has been shared with the Government of Namibia, political parties and other electoral stakeholders.