ECN Accused of Overlooking the Jobless

The DTA of Namibia’s youth wing has expressed unhappiness with the Electoral Commission of Namibia’s (ECN) decision to employ people who already work in the public service at the expense of unemployed Namibians, for the upcoming elections.

However, the ECN said it employs civil servants because they are familiar with government procedures relating to care and maintenance of government property such as vehicles.

DTA Youth League Secretary Bensen Katjirijova recently denounced ECN recruitment policies when it comes to appointing temporary workers for elections and vowed to formally engage the ECN leadership on the matter.

“This is a very selfish practice because we have thousands of unemployed Namibians roaming the streets while other people leave their fulltime jobs to come work during the elections. ECN must find a way to reserve these jobs for those who do not have any job,” said Katjirijova.

“Having civil servants driving the vehicles used during the elections is done to ensure accountability. As we know accidents do occur, hence we will be able to hold them accountable because they are in the civil service,” said ECN’s Director for Operations Theo Mujoro.

For the coming elections ECN has temporarily employed 12 827 staff ranging from regional and assistant regional coordinators to IT field support staff, returning officers, logistics officials and polling officials.

It is a known fact that many civil servants take leave from their fulltime employment to work for the ECN during elections. Critics have in the past slammed the ECN for not doing proper screening of all applicants to determine their employment status before contracting them.

Katjirijova said past excuses by the ECN that it needs to employ people who have experience relating to electoral matters is farfetched, adding that those who have no experience should be capacitated through training.

“It is very selfish on the part of those who leave their fulltime jobs to take up jobs that can go to the unemployed. I know some public servants do not receive a decent salary, but at least they receive something, what about those who receive nothing at all?” argued Katjirijova.

Katjirijova accused the appointing authorities of only employing those known to them and who served in past elections, while jobless applicants are left to roam the streets.

Mujoro brushed aside the allegations and explained that the electoral body employs a high number of unemployed Namibians but at the same time remains conscious that certain positions such as supervisory ones need experienced officials to drive the electoral process accordingly.

“We do not discriminate against any Namibian but we are also very conscious about the socio-economic situation – therefore we do employ a significant number of young people with basic high school qualifications to be part of the electoral process. We do however retain a small percentage of people who would occupy supervisory functions, especially civil servants in middle management and managerial positions in the public service,” he explained.

Source : New Era