Two Namibian opposition parties on Saturday cried foul over alleged fraud in this week’s presidential and parliamentary elections, which they say have caused delays in delivering election results.
Partial results from this week’s general election showed the incumbent president Hage Geingob leading with over 56 percent of the vote.
While the electoral commission’s chairperson Advocate Notemba Tjipueja called for patience as vote counting was being finalised, Geingob took to social media to thank Namibians for his re-election.
“I wish to thank Namibians for re-electing me as their president,” he tweeted, promising to “bring tangible improvements in the lives of our citizens.”
His South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO) has ruled the sparsely populated nation since independence from South Africa in 1990.
Geingob’s closest rival, Panduleni Itula, a SWAPO member who is running as an independent candidate, as well as the leader of the Landless People’s Movement (LPM) Bernadus Swartbooi have alleged fraud in the elections ahead of the final count.
As the final batch of votes were being tallied, Itula on Saturday penned a letter to the electoral commission, Geingob and other stakeholders, urging for dialogue to avoid a “potential national crisis” with devastating effects.
The presidential candidate claimed there were “unprecedented multitudes of national irregularities” which needed to be addressed ahead of the final results announcement.
Itula is popular among the country’s youth, nearly half of whom are unemployed and have grown frustrated with the regime.
Chief Electoral Officer, Theo Mujoro acknowledged receipt of the letter but told reporters he had not yet read it.
Local newspaper, The Namibian, reported that LPM leader Swartbooi had accused the electoral commission of Namibia and SWAPO of rigging the outcome of the national polls.
“Votes were being increased in favour of SWAPO and Geingob and reduced for other candidates,” it reported Swartbooi saying.
Namibia was the first country in Africa to introduce electronic voting machines in 2014.
The machines — meant to speed up voting — have been heavily criticised by the opposition, which claims the absence of paper records raises the prospect of fraud.
But the electoral tribunal threw out an application by Itula to ban the machines.
Around 1.4 million of the country’s 2.4 million people registered to vote in the elections using electronic voting machines, despite objection from opposition.
The electoral commission has vowed to release the final results by the end of Saturday.