Elections not transparent enough

16 April 2019 | Local News

The latest Action Namibia Coalition research has found that the level of transparency and accountability in publishing election information is unsatisfactory.

Role players such as the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) still do not disclose even the most basic information, says John Nakuta, the author of the report 'Access to Information and Elections: The Case of Namibia'.

His research found that data delivery is generally done reactively except for a few instances where the law requires proactive disclosure.

The paper was discussed at an event in Windhoek on Friday morning.

Political analyst Graham Hopwood said the verification of Namibian elections has always been a grey area.

“We are not just talking about the ECN; access to information has many stakeholders and it also includes the political parties. A political party must, for example, make available its candidates and its manifesto,” he said.

Political activist Carola Engelbrecht shared that she found it extremely difficult to obtain information from the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN). They only concentrated on political parties and neglected the rest of the nation, she said. She admitted, though, that things had changed at the ECN in the last few years.

“It was as if you were entering the central intelligence centre and you were looked at as if they wanted to know who was behind you coming there, who had sent you, whose agenda was this and why you wanted the information.

“I remember in 2004 I wanted a training manual for election officials from the ECN. That was state secret. There was one person who was willing to help me and I had to meet him at night behind a bush, but I got it,” she said.

JEMIMA BEUKES

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