The electoral commission has overruled objections by a civic society organisation to stop Moses Ndjarakana from being shortlisted for the position of the director of elections yesterday.
President Hifikepunye Pohamba appointed Ndjarakana as ECN Director of Elections effective August 1, 2008 to July 31, 2013 in terms of Section 11 of the Electoral Act.
Activist and advocate for the improvement of the electoral legal framework and processes, Carola Engelbrecht submitted that judge president Damaseb implied that Ndjarakana could be guilty of perjury with regards to a disputed 2009 election.
“It cannot augur well for the Electoral Commission of Namibia if Mr. Ndjarakana would again be appointed as Director of Elections, while he has not been publicly cleared of what was said by the High Court in 2011. The voters haven’t forgotten,” said Engelbrecht.
She also added, “One cannot wish away the words of judges Damaseb and Parker on 14 February 2011: ‘It will be a sad day indeed for this fledgling democracy if, after this verdict, those who manage elections think they have been completely vindicated, and therefore to continue with business as usual.”
According to Engelbrecht, Ndjarakana has not attempted to rehabilitate himself in the eyes of the public through expressing remorse about his wrong doing.
Reappointing him would be a bad message to the citizens and public servants, she suggested.
However, Ndjarakana has waved off these objections stating that the case against him did proceed further than the High Court and there was a judgement to that effect.
“Judge Damaseb being the appointing authority, his excellency former President of the republic or the Prosecutor General didn’t institute any legal case against me Ndjarakana.”
He told a local weekly soon after winning in the Supreme Court that he was confident “we conducted everything pretty much according to book, given the nature of the electoral process.”
He also fired back asking Engelbrecht whether she in her capacity or the organisation she represents instituted any legal proceedings against him.
However, the activist pointed out that past encounters and engagements with the prospective director of elections had not been satisfactory, which is against ECN’s objective of fostering a good working relationship with stakeholders.
She also stamped that in light of ECN’s requirement that one has extensive experience and outstanding acumen in conflict resolution, negotiation and mediation, Ndjarakana possessed no such qualities.
“He would just chase us out of his office,” she lashed describing him as lacking a professional touch, abrasive and careless.
“The ECN even suspended Mr. Ndjarakana at some point during his tenure as Director of Elections. No public explanation was given about either of his transgressions or his rehabilitation. This leaves the electorate very uneasy.”
“With social media and the internet readily accessible there are many newspaper articles, etc. about Mr. Ndjarakana’s less than squeaky clean track record. Can the ECN afford to ignore that and still claim to be an institution of impeccable repute?” she challenged.
Also vying for the ECN position of chief electoral officer is Theophilius Mujoro whose academic background in nuclear energy has been frowned upon as not in line with requirements advertised by ECN.
He has been challenged for not profiling himself as an independent thinker: “He is an obedient public service official, but chief electoral officer? Can he motivate staff and enforce staff rules? Has he not become a “buddy” to staff members due to his longstanding service at the ECN?” pushed Engelbrecht.
She pointed that his experience in electoral matters would make him a reasonable choice but the office need an uncontaminated chief electoral officer
Franco Cosmos, Amon Haimbangu and Helmuth Nawaseb have also been challenged as to experience they has to make them eligible for the chief electoral officer position.