By Staff Reporter
The official opposition party, the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) has disclosed that the Windhoek municipality has charged them about N$500 000 to put their election campaign posters around the city.
While the party’s secretary general, Manuel Ngaringombe told reporters that they were charged around N$500 per poster, the party’s treasurer, Nico Smit said in the certain areas they were charged N$1 000.
“We had millions of posters and we were told to remove them because we did not comply with the municipality’s rules. But when Swapo put its posters we were told to put them back and we got exempted from paying,” said Ngaringombe.
Ngaringombe has also decried what he called psychological intimidation that was being carried out by “certain institutions in this country towards the opposition parties.
The Popular Democratic Movement had its central committee electoral college on the 8th of September 2019. “The central committee is the only body that gives us the right to elect members that will stand as candidates for the national elections and the presidential elections.
Then just five days afterwards on the 3rd of October 2019 we received a letter from ECN in compliance with Section 77 (4) Act 5 of 2014 that says that if members on the list are remunerated by the Public Service and if they are working for government or they are regional and local authority councillors they can’t not be on the list. If they are on the list, they can be disqualified because of the sections that they are mentioned under 77.
We said it’s okay, we will not fight them, we will withdraw our candidates, we indeed withdrew our candidates but that is not enough. When they gave us the government gazette yesterday (Wednesday) Ronny Benjamin was withdrawn from the list.
Now ECN had enough time to inform political parties, they refused to do that.
They did not do it, they did not see it as necessary. After we finished our internal democratic processes they said we have to act against it,” said Ngaringombe.
The party held a press conference in the scotching sun by the Electoral Commission of Namibia precincts where they castigated the Commission for failing to create a level playing field for all parties to contest.
The same outcry has also come from the South West Africa National Unity (SWANU) president Tangeni Iijambo.
But Ngaringombe has complained that two of their members who qualified for the elections had been chopped off as per the rule of Article 47 which requires resignations of remunerated public office bearers.
“A certain person on number 24 on our list who has no reason to be withdrawn from the list, who did not qualify on their specification of withdrawal of candidates was withdrawn without our instructions. We gave instructions, they did just what they wanted to do,” decried Ngaringombe.
PDM is also not happy with how its name is appearing on ECN papers.
The party has amalgamated with the Unity Democratic Movement (UPM) and according to Ngaringombe, contrary to the party’s specifications on how it will be named in papers, ECN labelled them the PDM/UPM coalition.
“We said what coalition? We said we will go under one (name). The PDM/UPM alliance. What alliance because we agree on one thing? We went back to them, we wrote a letter saying we stand under the name PDM.
When we were there on the 29th of October they wrote PDM/UPM alliance. And that is why we did not sign the ballot papers there. That’s why we refused totally because we tell them something, we agree on something and they do the other thing,” said Ngaringombe.
The party has also slammed the ECN for failing to properly communicate. “From the 2nd of November to the 9th we were supposed to work on the sealing of electoral material like the EVMs and so forth. I came the day before with my counterparts and asked them did the process start? No, we did not start because there are some problems, we will shift it backwards and we will inform you.
They kept quiet. Yesterday (Wednesday) night on the 8 o’clock NBC news they announce that on Thursday, political parties must come to ECN to bring their seals because they will now work on the sealing of the material and they are also going to tell us that we have to start dispatching the material. Why are they doing that?” queried the SG. PDM accused ECN of being in bed with Swapo and playing second fiddle to the latter at the expense of other parties.
The press conference to discredit the ECN occurred just about the same time that the commission’s boss, Theo Mujoro was telling the media that his team was ready to deliver, asking the media to report in their favour against allegations coming from political parties.