The Landless People’s Movement has described the proposed amendments to the Electoral Act of Namibia as going against the democratic values the country has embraced.
The leader of LPM has taken particular clauses relating to the Chief Executive Officer of ECN, whose tenure, according to him is not specified, unlike the term of the current chief electoral officer whose term is five years, as well as the endorsement of the appointment of the CEO.
During the recent retreat of LPM in Swakopmund during the by-election there, Bernadus Swartbooi expressed concerns surrounding some of the proposed amendment bill.
The proposed amendments were shared with stakeholders by the Electoral Commission.
The bill, Swartbooi said, recommends that the endorsement of the CEO be moved from the National Assembly and giving it to the president.
He said taking away the power of endorsing the CEO is a clear indication of dictatorship.
According to him such a scenario will make the CEO subject to the authority and control of the president, which should be resisted.
Swartbooi warned that leaving so much power in the hand of the president will open doors for possible abuse, where ‘’one can be fired simply for not doing what they want you to do’’, a danger that he described as catastrophic.
He questioned if the proposed amendments are Swapo’s secret weapon to ensure they have an upper hand over opposition parties in the 2024 elections.
ECN Chief Electoral and Referenda Officer, Theo Mujoro told the Windhoek Observer today in an Interview that he is aware of the concerns making rounds, saying the ECN will have a national stakeholders engagement to discuss the amendments and to hear inputs from the masses.
The consultations are planned around mid-September in Windhoek. Mujoro further stated that
they have written to stakeholders to send through their inputs.
He explained that these are just proposals that are subject to thorough discussions before they are submitted to the legislative body.
“It will be premature for us to share the proposed bill without firstly discussing it with all the relevant stakeholders and the media.”
Popular Democratic Movement’s Vipuakuje Muharukua also came out strongly against the proposals, but advised that people should not be too quick to make conclusion until the ECN publicly
hold their stakeholder engagements.