DTA questions funding to Swapo during elections

18 Jan 2015 11:10am
WINDHOEK, 18 JAN (NAMPA) - The DTA of Namibia wants critical reforms for political party funding and says it has already engaged other stakeholders to bring the necessary reforms in that area.
DTA president McHenry Venaani made this statement during his party’s first management meeting held at its headquarters on Thursday.
“Currently, you have a system where parties only receive administrative funding of N.dollars 500 000 per year each. However, when it comes to elections, there is no additional funding to parties,” he explained.
This, Venaani said, makes it difficult for political parties to really finance election campaigns in this country.
“A lump sum of money should be given to parties that are in parliament for campaign purposes. Secretarial funding to all parties should also not be equal, as you have bigger parties that are supposed to perform certain functions as official oppositions and the ruling party,” he noted.
Venaani claimed there is tendency in the country and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) at large, where businesses are financing and steam rolling ruling parties’ election campaigns.
The financing by these businesses is done not because they really want to finance the ruling parties, but rather done in the hope for them to reap profits from their funding.
“President of South Africa Jacob Zuma once made a point blank statement that if you give money to the ruling African National Congress party, your business would triplicate. And this is what is happening here,” he pointed out.
Venaani said his party’s biggest worry currently is foreign funding, adding that the country has laws in place which state that foreign funding must be declared.
The DTA leader further stated that his party is particularly worried about the Chinese interest in the country’s political system.
“It’s a worrisome trend, where you see some Chinese companies donating close to N.dollars 8 million to the ruling party. And recently we read in the papers that they are adamant to build a Naval Base in Walvis Bay,” he added.
Media reports had it that discussions are underway at the 'highest levels' regarding plans by the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy to build a base at Walvis Bay in the next 10 years.
According to such reports, Walvis Bay will be one of 18 naval bases that will be established in various regions such as Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Mynanmar in the northern Indian Ocean; Djibouti, Yemen, Oman, Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique in the western Indian Ocean; and Seychelles and Madagascar in the central South Indian Ocean.
“Where is the correlation of international funding? To other people we must declare whilst the Pakistanis and the Asians are bankrolling Swapo. And why are they bankrolling Swapo?” the DTA leader wanted to know.
He stated that there is nothing wrong with bankrolling Swapo, but there is everything wrong if the bankrolling is inundated with funding from one country.
“For us to avoid a system where foreigners control the political system in this country, a review is needed on the political party funding to make sure that we strengthen democracy,” he stressed.