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Namibia Becomes the First African Country to Use e-Voting

The electronic voting system (e-Voting) was used during last Friday general elections at Namibia; the electronic voting machines was purchased from an Indian company.

namibia uses e-voting

Namibia became the first African nation to adopt the use of e-voting as it utilized electronic ballots for its recently conducted general elections for the country’s National Assembly and Presidency. The e-voting Machines (EVMs) were procured at a cost of 25m Namibian dollars from an Indian firm who claim the machines were based on technology designed to eliminate flaws and contend with the doubts of political parties about the transparency of the Namibian electoral authority.

Opposition parties had launched efforts close to the election to prevent the use of electronic voting in the elections by filing a suit at the Windhoek High Court, claiming that it allowed for the lack of a paper trail who could present an opportunity for vote rigging. However, the suit was dismissed, paving the way for the electoral body to proceed with the elections. Namibians went to the polls to choose 96 members of the National Assembly as well as a President with nine candidates in contention. Candidates from parties ranging from the Economic Freedom Fighters and the Republican Party went head-to-head at nearly 4,000 electronic voting stations across the country.

The machines featured photos and photos of candidates corresponding with other information next to the casting button. Voters had to click on their chosen candidate or party during the elections to cast their vote. Despite a few delays, results from the Friday elections were still being verified on Sunday, with the ruling Swapo party and its presidential candidate Hage Geingob reported to have established a commanding lead. The African Union on Sunday commended Namibia over the elections which it described as free and fair in spite of a few procedural challenges related to the complex nature of polling station procedures and insufficient staff training on how the machines worked.

Namibia’s adoption of e-voting technology makes it the first country in Africa to take on board an electronic voting system and this may encourage more African countries to follow suit.

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