Oshikoto Polling Officers Refuse to Sign Contracts

CLOSE to 230 polling officers out of 1 124 in the Oshikoto region yesterday refused to sign their contracts of employment with the Electoral Commission of Namibia, throwing the organisation of tomorrow’s polling into disarray.

This was confirmed by ECN regional coordinator in Oshikoto, Helena Namadhila who said the allowance the ECN is giving them is low and will have to be increased.

Namadhila claimed that even the owners of private vehicles are refusing to sign the contracts for the use of their vehicles by the ECN during the election.

“We are busy discussing the matter with the concerned officers and vehicle owners and hope to reach a solution, so that the whole preparation can continue. We are already dispatching the non-sensitive materials to some polling stations and hope to finish the whole preparation by tomorrow evening, if not in the afternoon,” Namadhila told The Namibian yesterday. According to her, the ECN is paying N$1 000 per day for a two-by-four vehicle and N$1 200 for a four-by-four vehicle.

The private vehicle owners, however, described the rates as “peanuts”.

The Namibian also has it on good authority that the polling officers at Eengodi constituency refused to sign the allowance payment contract because of low payment rates.

Omusati regional coordinator Leonard Ndazapo told The Namibian yesterday that from their side, all is in place and they are busy handing out materials to returning and polling officers.

He said there has been “a little problem with the availability of vehicles”, but it has been sorted out.

Oshana regional coordinator Julius Shongolo told The Namibian that all preparations were going well and that they dispatched some teams yesterday.

In Ohangwena, the process was also going well, despite the arrest of two young men who are being suspected of having stolen a memory card belonging to the ECN.

According to the Ohangwena police, Immanuel Haushona (28) and Shimweefeleni Tate-elai (28) were arrested on Sunday and appeared in the Ohangwena Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday. They were not asked to plead and their case has been postponed to 8 December this year for further police investigations. They were not granted bail.

Source : The Namibian