Lack of funds constrain party polling agents

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Ongwediva

Opposition parties that participated in the regional and local authority elections on Friday were not represented by their party agents at all polling stations, with many citing a lack of funding as the reason.

Only Swapo posted party agents at all polling stations countrywide. Over the years, opposition parties’ agents have tried to remain visible at polling station in order to observe and oversee the voting process.
Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) spokesperson Nghiningilwandubo Kashume said his party had no choice but to trust that the results issued by the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) are credible and reliable.

He feels it is the responsibility of the ECN to ensure and guarantee that the results issued are correct, whether there were political party agents at polling stations or not.

“It is a well known fact that opposition parties are experiencing difficulty accessing funds. We do not have the funds to pay party agents,” Kashume said.

Kashume pointed to the lack of volunteerism and lack of political education among the youth, as some of the reasons why opposition parties had very few or no members willing to stay at polling station and observe the election process throughout.

“We have a situation where the youth have not taken to politics as a way of living. The youth do not have an interest in politics and it is worrying,” Kashume said.

Similarly, DTA acting secretary general Elma Dienda said her party spent N$142 500 to register its candidates that participated in 57 constituencies countrywide. The cost of registering a candidate with the ECN for an election is N$2 500, she noted.

“The DTA does not get N$20 million from somewhere. The amount that the ECN charges political parties is unfair. They should at least charge N$100 as administration fee,” said Dienda.

Dienda also cited the lack of volunteerism among party members as a constraint. She, however, maintained that the DTA had observers at most polling stations. She said a number of DTA members, including herself, had gone around various polling stations as party observers to ensure that their party monitored and oversaw the process, even in the absence of dedicated party agents, who were expected to be based at their respective poll stations throughout the election process.

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