Swapo bags N$96.7m through state funding

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The ruling party Swapo will receive N$96.7 million from government to fund its administrative and parliamentary functions in the current financial year.

Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein announced this in the National Assembly yesterday when lawmakers approved the proposed determination on the funding formula for political parties.

In total, taxpayers will pump a total of N$116.8 million into the coffers of the 10 political parties represented in parliament.

During the last financial year Swapo got over N$21 million out of the total N$28 million allocated for political parties.

Parties are paid on the basis of the number of seats they occupy in parliament. A single parliamentary seat was worth N$391 667 in the last financial year, but the figure has now jumped to N$958 000 per seat.
The finance minister said the allocated money for 2015/16 is based on the estimated revenue to be collected in the same year.

Government has estimated to collect N$58.4 billion during the current financial year.
“The determination indicates that 0.2 percent is the maximum allocation, which implies that the allocation can be less than 0.2 percent of the revenue,” Schlettwein explained. The funding will cater for the combined 101 Swapo Party members in the National Assembly and the National Council. Swapo currently has 77 representatives in the National Assembly and 24 in the National Council.

Under the proposed funding the official opposition DTA of Namibia – with six seats in parliament – will receive N$5.8 million while Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) and United Democratic Front (UDF), with three seats each, will each receive N$N2.9 million.

All People’s Party (APP), Nudo and the Workers Revolutionary Party, who all have two seats, will each receive N$1.9 million while Republican Party, Swanu and United People’s Movement will each receive N$958 000 for the single seat they have in the National Assembly. Parties are allowed to carry money over to the next financial year provided that this does not exceed 95 percent of the money received during the financial year. Opposition parties have in recent years called on government to do away with the formula for party funding based on proportional representation, claiming that it disadvantages smaller parties.

At present, parties represented in parliament receive financial allocations from the legislature to support their administrative functions and run their offices. They also raise funds from private donors or commercial arms like the governing party’s Kalahari Holdings, which is believed to have raked in millions if not billions over the years through its commercial dealings. Leader of the official opposition DTA, McHenry Venaani, during the brief debate on the proposal called on government to adopt stricter measures to control foreign funding directed to political parties.
“When parties are recipients of party funding from government there is also money flowing into parties from all corners. We must regulate donor money to regulate donor influence,” he said.

Minister of Justice, Dr Albert Kawana, reminded Venaani that “party funding is comprehensively addressed in the Electoral Act”.

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has for years urged parliament to come up with a law that would compel parties to account for money received from government. Currently there are no audit mechanisms in place to determine how state funding of the parties was used, leaving the door open for abuse of such funds.

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