Namibians queue to cast their votes at a polling station near Windhoek, Namibia. Picture: AP Photo/Brandon van Wyk

Johannesburg - Namibia's sixth multiparty elections since its independence, largely carried out in a peaceful and orderly manner, the Commonwealth observers who were deployed to the country said on Friday.

“We observed that the processing of voters remains slow, thereby resulting in an arduous polling experience for many voters, with lengthy queues and voting extending well beyond [the] close of polls," the chairperson of the observer group, the former attorney general of Zambia Musa Mwenye, said issuing their preliminary statement.

“All voters who were still in the queue at [the] close of polls at 9pm were allowed to vote, in accordance with the law. The average time for processing of a voter is approximately four minutes. In this respect, we encourage the Electoral Commission of Namibia to explore practical options to expedite the process, without undermining electoral integrity.”

The group said that the 2019 Presidential and National Assembly elections on November 27 was the most competitive in the country’s electoral history.

“We were particularly impressed by the large numbers of women and youth who participated in the electoral process as candidates (including through party lists), voters, polling staff, party monitors and citizen observers," Mwenye said.

"While these groups’ participation was commendable, we do encourage further action to enhance their effective participation in political and state institutions.”

The group called on the Election Commission of Namibia, political parties, civil society and other electoral stakeholders to engage in post-election, inclusive dialogue on how to resolve the issue of the lack of a verifiable paper trail ahead of future elections. They also stressed the need to invest more in voter education.

They called on Namibians to be patient and tolerant, while the Electoral Commission of Namibia concludes the results processes.

The group’s final report will be submitted to the Commonwealth Secretary-General and would then be made available to the Namibian government, political parties, the Election Commission and the public.

African News Agency (ANA)