ECN says no urgent amendment needed to Electoral Law

05 Nov 2013 17:50pm
WINDHOEK, 05 NOV (NAMPA) - The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) says there is no need for it to look at any urgent amendments to the Electoral Law at this point in time.
ECN chairperson Notemba Tjipueja made the statement when members of the commission, including the Director of Elections Dr Paul Isaak, paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Hage Geingob to brief him on the upcoming activities of the ECN here on Tuesday.
Geingob said the subject is a delicate matter, hence he requested the Minister of Justice Uutoni Nujoma; Law Reform and Development Commission (LRDC) chairperson Sacky Shanghala; Gender Research and Advocacy Project Coordinator at the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC) Dianne Hubbard; as well as the Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development Charles Namoloh, to be part of the discussions.
Others who attended the meeting were the Minister of Presidential Affairs Albert Kawana, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration Elia Kaiyamo, as well as the Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Home Affairs Ministry, Ambassador Patrick Nandago.
“The Electoral Reform Bill is still under review and will come before Parliament when ready. However at this point in time, there is no need for the ECN to look at any amendments to the law,” she said.
A proposed debate on the importance and urgency of a thorough overhaul of electoral legislation was cut short by parliamentarians last month.
The motion was initiated by Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) Member of Parliament (MP) Anton von Wietersheim, but rejected before he could motivate it.
Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development (RLGHRD) Minister, Major-General (Rtd) Charles Namoloh called for the motion to be wiped off the table as his ministry is already busy working on the legislation.
The motion was aimed at discussing the Namibian High Court’s pronouncements in no uncertain terms about the urgent need to reform and improve the electoral law before the next round of elections.
It was also going to look at the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) and the Law Reform and Development Commission (LRDC) by pointing to the need for a complete overhaul of the electoral law to restore the trust of the Namibian people in the electoral system.
The point of departure agreed upon during Tuesday’s meeting is that the law will be looked at as a holistic piece of legislation and once there is a complete Bill, it will be brought to Parliament for debate.
Tjipueja confirmed that the country will have a reformed Electoral Law before the national elections take place in November next year, as the Bill will be a priority for discussion in Parliament by early 2014.
Giving his view on the matter, Shanghala said the LRDC will be completing the reform on the Electoral Act which will be known as the Electoral Matters Bill.
The Electoral Matters Bill will be composed of four pieces of legislature which are the Electoral Commission Bill, the Electoral and Referendum Bill, Political Parties and Organisation Bill, and the Electoral Adjudication Bill.
“It is going to be a consolidated bill. We are consolidating it to make the Bill much more streamlined for utility, reading and access to the law,” he pointed out.
Echoing Tjipueja’s sentiments, Shanghala indicated that the Bill will be the first matter before Parliament in 2014.
“So the general voter registration will go ahead as planned, the Bill will be done and elections will take place on the basis of the new law when passed,” the LRDC chairperson said.
Meanwhile, Shanghala also confirmed that due to recommendations from the public, elections will be conducted in just one day.