Namibia: Church Leaders Call for Tolerance

New Era, Windhoek — With Namibians expected to vote in national general elections slated for November the Roman Catholic Church in Namibia has urged all eligible Namibians to register in order to cast their votes.

The Catholic Church wants all election procedures to be adhered to and to be enforced strictly to ensure that they are accepted by all political parties that will take part in the elections. The message from the church was contained in a communiqué signed by Archbishop Liborius Ndumbukuti Nashenda who is the president of the Namibian Catholic Bishop’s Conference and co-signed by Bishop Joseph Shikongo the Bishop of the Apostolic Vicariate of Rundu and Bishop Philipp Pölitzer, who is the Bishop of Keetmanshoop.

Church leaders called on the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) to undertake an intensive voter education campaign to familiarize voters with the new voting system. “As usual all voters must be informed about the contents of the ballot papers. In every election there are always new people who have just reached the voting age,” said the church leaders. The church also urged all political parties that will contest the elections to welcome and accept the results of the elections, which come through a democratic process. They also appealed to the ECN to publish a voters register to ensure transparency and input from all stakeholders prior to the crucial elections. “We wish all parties who are participating, good voting and success, so that the end result can eventually be declared free, fair and credible by the international community,” read their communique.

Political parties are also urged to observe a strict code of conduct and exercise political maturity and tolerance. “When Election Day comes all parties must have the right to monitor the election process as is the general practice throughout the democratic world,” they said. The Catholic leaders said all parties should have free access to both the print and the electronic media. “All parties must bear in mind that it never happens that everybody wins. We should not only be good runners, but also good losers. The parties must accept the results which have come through a democratic process and it shall unite the parties in a spirit of unity and solidarity rather than dividing them,” they said.

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