ECN 'in bed with Swapo'

Opposition parties have voiced their frustration with the ECN, but Swapo says it is not influencing the electoral body.

08 November 2019 | Local News

The Landless People's Movement (LPM) has accused ECN electoral and referenda officer Theo Mujoro of being in bed with Swapo and undermining Namibia's commitment to free and fair democratic political elections.

This comes after the news that the ECN had loaned out electronic voting machines (EVMs) to the Swapo Party Elders' Council (SPEC) for its congress in 2017, without the machines being accompanied by ECN staff, as stipulated in the Electoral Act.

The EVMs have gone and contrary to initial utterances from the ECN, no criminal case was opened. Swapo had allegedly reimbursed the ECN for the EVMs. At a media briefing yesterday, LPM operative secretary Edson Isaak said this was proof that an “incestuous relationship” exists between the ECN and Swapo. According to him the ECN does not have the capacity to conduct credible elections using EVMs and it is hell-bent on conducting national elections which favour the ruling party. “We formally question the relationship between the ECN and the Swapo Party. The ECN chairperson and CEO have not been truthful and transparent in their dealings with the matter of the loaning out the EVMs to the Swapo Party,” Isaak said. Swapo executive director Austin Samupwa said these are baseless accusation. “There is no truth in these accusations. Swapo is not influencing the ECN. The ECN is an independent body,” Samupwa said.



Disorganised

The Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) said yesterday the ECN is disorganised and influenced by Swapo.

The PDM also confirmed they have adjusted their parliamentary list following an ECN directive that MPs, local authority and regional councillors, as well as civil servants must resign upon their nomination to a party list for the National Assembly.

PDM secretary general Manuel Ngaringombe accused the ECN of “messing up” their list by keeping some members who were withdrawn. Ngaringombe also accused the ECN of ignoring the fact that the United People's Movement (UPM) will campaign under the PDM banner and continuously listed them as “PDM and UPM coalition”. “There is no coalition. We are going under one party banner. The ECN is disorganised. Are they not capable of running democratic elections or are they deliberately undermining democracy?” he asked. Attempts to reach Mujoro for comment were unsuccessful.

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JEMIMA BEUKES

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