WINDHOEK – The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) has over the years been employing unqualified temporary staff and bypassing key recruitment procedures such as conducting interviews, a process which has led to ECN’s staff employing their relatives, Auditor-General Junias Kandjeke has said.
Kandjeke made these revelations in his report on the accounts of the ECN for the 2013 financial year that was tabled in the National Assembly earlier this week.
“The process of recruiting/appointing was not done in a fair, consistent, transparent manner and contrary to the procedures and guidelines as stipulated in the Recruitment and Selection Policy,” Kandjeke stated.
“He also revealed that some casual workers were appointed without meeting the job requirements as set by the ECN policy and without going through the recruitment process.”
Sources in the commission tell New Era that the recruitment of temporary staff is particularly filled with nepotism when it comes to appointing officials for by-elections, registration of voters and national elections.
According to the sources, for the national elections last year a number of top officials in the ECN took advantage of the situation to employ their relatives before considering applicants.
Nepotism and favouritism are said to be rife within the commission when it comes to employing several staff.
“Appointments and promotions for some posts were done without following the recruitment process stipulated in the recruitment and selection policy, a practice that resulted in the Electoral Commission of Namibia staff nominating and appointing their close relatives,” said Kandjeke.
Surprisingly, the audit also revealed that ECN’s human resource practitioners are not alerted when there is a need to appoint temporary staff members.
“Although the recruitment policy states that recruitment should be done by advertising the posts and human resource practitioners should facilitate the process, staff from human resource practitioners are not consulted when the need to appoint temporary staff arises,” Kandjeke noted.
The report further indicates that not all temporary positions were advertised and as a result no interviews were conducted for those posts.
In 2013, ECN had over 40 temporary staff members at its headquarters with some having served in those positions for 10 years by simply having their contracts renewed annually, noted Kandjeke.
Meanwhile, Kandjeke also found during the audit process that ECN underspent by N$35 million in 2013, although most of it was mostly caused by the fact that most of the budgetary provisions were made with the general registration of voters process in mind – the process was postponed by government to allow the delimitation of boundaries to be finalised.
Kandjeke was not impressed with the under spending and called on ECN’s accounting officer to put measures in place to avoid under-expenditure and to ensure that planned projects are implemented.
Some of the primary factors attributed to the under expenditure include ECN making budgetary provisions to settle accounts of fixed tariffs and fuel invoices from the government garage.
“Funds could, however, not be utilised due to some invoices that were received after the closing of the financial year,” Kandjeke pointed out.
The postponement of the general registration of voters (GRV) in 2013 was also another factor that is seen as having resulted in the under expenditure.
“Budgetary provision was made to cover the anticipated expenses during the GRV. The GRV could, however, not be carried out during the year due to delays in finalising the delimitation of boundaries. Funds earmarked for the hiring of vehicles, boats, helicopters as well as remuneration of registration officials could not be utilised due to the postponement of the GRV process,” he said.
In the report, ECN also blames the postponed GRV process for not being able to carry out its voter education campaigns for which budgetary provisions were made.
Efforts to get comment from ECNs Director for Elections, Dr Paul Isaaks, and Director for Operations, Theo Mujoro, yielded no positive results, as their mobile phones went unanswered.