Only parties in National Assembly entitled to public funding

02 Mar 2016 12:30pm
WINDHOEK, 02 MAR (NAMPA) – Political parties need to generate income to perform the tasks expected from them by the electorate, as only political parties represented in National Assembly (NA) are entitled to public funding.
Speaker of the NA Peter Katjavivi made the remark Monday during the opening of a two-day workshop on political party financing.
He said said all other registered political parties are expected to generate their own income.
The aim of the workshop is to engage all political parties, associations and stakeholders on the need to comply with Chapter Four of the Electoral Act, Act number 5 of 2014 with regard to the regulations of political party financing.
The law as promulgated by Parliament on 17 October 2014.
A total of 16 political parties are registered with the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) of which only nine are represented in NA.
“Members of Parliament who enacted this piece of legislation did well to recognise the place and role money plays in affairs of our constitutional democracy,” Katjavivi stated.
The speaker noted there can be no democracy without political parties, thus they (political parties) compete for political power, generate democratic governments and shape public policies.
He, however, expressed dismay over a group of three political parties not represented in NA that staged a public demonstration on Thursday, demanding entitlement to political party funding.
These political parties are National Democratic Party (NDP); Christian Democratic Voice (CDV); and the Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters (NEFF).
“Much as I have sympathy and empathy with these three political parties, the Electoral Act, Act No 5 of 2014 is explicit to this matter,” he said.
The section 155 (b) of the Electoral Act stipulates that for the purpose of the allocation of funds to political parties as contemplated under section 154, the funds are allocated in accordance with a formula based on the principle of proportional representation as contained in Article 49 of the Namibian Constitution.
The proportional representation here refers to representation in the NA.
However, Katjavivi noted that there is a flipside to the notion of political parties’ funding as there are also unfortunate consequences that await those who do not manage finances properly.
He called for the proper handling of money as part of the principles of transparency and accountability to avoid corruption, bribery and the embezzlement of funds.
Chairperson of the ECN, Notemba Tjipueja said the Act includes provisions relating to the establishment, registration, and deregistration of political parties and organisation, and the funding of political parties.
“As stakeholders in this very important process, we all have an obligation to ensure that the law is upheld and that relevant provisions are fully complied with,” she said.
Tjipueja said political finance should be examined from the viewpoint of ethics, fairness, equity, accountability, transparency and accessibility; the same viewpoints followed when examining election integrity throughout the electoral process.
Thus, the chairperson noted the importance of rigorous standards given by the high visibility of campaign financing and its impact on public confidence in elections.
About 50 political parties’ representatives are attending the workshop that ends on Wednesday.
The workshop is being held under the theme ‘Promoting transparency and accountability of political party financing’.