20 Aug 2014 14:00pm
WINDHOEK, 20 AUG (NAMPA) Voting in national elections will be conducted in just one day if the Electoral Bill of 2014 is passed without the proposed clause being amended.
The Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development, Charles Namoloh made this statement in Parliament on Tuesday when he motivated the Bill tabled on the same day.
The Electoral Bill of 2014 would replace the Electoral Act of 1992, which has been amended six times.
Another key feature of the Bill is the establishment of electoral tribunals and electoral courts with differentiated jurisdictions.
The role of the district courts, the magistrates courts at district level, has been removed. The term electoral tribunal will therefore refer to the regional magistrates courts, and the electoral court will be the High Court sitting with the Judge-President and two other Judges of the High Court, the minister said.
The Bill also contains enhanced definitions, such as the definition of pre-election and post-election applications, meaning that some matters can only be raised prior to polling day in the case pre-election challenges.
Namoloh noted that it will also no longer be permissible to wait until after the conducting of the election to raise a matter such as the inclusion or non-inclusion of a voters name on the voters' register.
Another feature being introduced by the Electoral Bill is the occurrence book, which will be kept at every registration point, polling station and collation centre in which all complaints and events which a person is dissatisfied with are recorded, he stated.
Further motivating the Bill, Namoloh said the matter of proof of residence, which was of concern to many, has been sorted out by the simple deposition of an oath before a registration officer.
To register to vote in the local authority elections, eligible voters have to prove that they have resided in an area for 12 consecutive months via the provision of a municipal or Telecom Namibia bill.
With regards to the appointment of Electoral Commissioners, the Bill provides that the selection committee will be composed of the chairperson of the Public Service Commission and the chairperson of the Council of the Law Society of Namibia.
Also to be included in the committee are the chairperson of the Public Accountants and Auditors Board, the Director of the Namibia Qualifications Authority, and the Registrar of the High Court.
The requirement for the registration of a political party is at least 3 500 signatures of registered voters spread equally from at least seven regions.
Discussions on the Electoral Bill of 2014 by Members of Parliament will start in Parliament on Wednesday.