Omuthiya Given Clean Bill of Health

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By Anna Ingwafa

EENHANA

The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) has found no evidence of irregularities in the recruitment of election officials for Omuthiya.

This follows claims by the opposition Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) and the National Society for Human Rights who alleged irregularities pertaining to the recruitment of election officials for the forthcoming Omuthiya local authority election.

The two alleged that during the recruitment exercise, only Swapo Party members were recruited as election officials while other applicants were excluded.

ECN Chairperson Dr Victor Tonchi said last Friday at Eenhana that the commission did not find anything indicating there was malpractice in the recruitment process.

He said an ECN team undertook a routine visit to the Omuthiya local authority in the Oshikoto Region and the Eenhana constituency in the Ohangwena Region to monitor the electoral programme being implemented there.

The chairman reported that the commission held meetings last Thursday at Omuthiya with relevant officials as well as with representatives of Swapo Party, the RDP and Congress of Democrats (CoD) to discuss allegations on the disputed recruitment process.

At the end of the discussion “the ECN would like to announce that it has discovered no evidence that conclusively supports the allegations that the recruitment process was flawed or irregular. The ECN thus wishes to announce that nothing was done by the officials involved in the recruitment process that would undermine the credibility of the election process or influence its outcome.”

Tonchi explained that the ECN had undertaken to consider a review of its recruitment procedures with the aim of addressing any loopholes that might be prevalent in the present application and selection procedures for election officials.

The ECN reminded all political parties to adhere to the code of conduct and inform their supporters to exercise political maturity and tolerance.

The call follows, the ECN noted with concern, the recent media reports concerning purported political intimidation and election related violence in particular at the Omuthiya local authority area.

The RDP alleged that the recruitment process was flawed and one-sided.

The party claimed that 62 officials that were recruited by the office of the Omuthiya Regional Council and that the recruitment was unfair and not procedural as all those recruited belonged to the ruling Swapo Party.

Tonchi said the commission received 214 applicants. Out of that number, 62 applicants were successful. He added that the ECN recruited the officials in accordance with the standard practice followed by government institutions.

RDP claimed that the selected people were chosen at the obvious expense of the Omuthiya constituency.

Tonchi was adamant that there was no evidence whatsoever to back the claims.

“ECN wishes to reiterate its stated commitment to the upholding of the principles of non-partisanship, transparency and political neutrality.

“Thus, the people of Omuthiya and Eenhana constituencies and the Namibian nation at large must rest assured that all aspects of the electoral programme at these two places will be conducted according to the letter and spirit of the Namibian Constitution and the Electoral Act, Act 24 of 1992, as amended,” he said.

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