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Democracy is expensive

08 May 2015

The recent outcry by opposition parties over the “exorbitant” election registration fees for fielding candidates in the upcoming regional elections is but a storm in a tea cup.

First and foremost, the Electoral Commission of Namibia is just enforcing the law as per the requirement of the Electoral Act no. 5 of 2014.

The irony is lost on the opposition parties who had the platform to make noise when the law was being amended last year, and they didn’t. Yet they now choose to direct their anger to a body which is simply tasked with implementing the law.

No amount of anger or public grandstanding will force the ECN to change the law simply because by law they cannot do that, but the parliamentarians themselves can.

Any serious party should not be seen complaining about the “exorbitant N$2500” especially in light of the recently announced mandatory party funding from the State.

It is an open secret that Namibian opposition parties are too many and poses no real threat to the Swapo Party’s domination. Most of the parties have no national appeal and only appeals to certain tribe which is rather unfortunate.

Claims that the opposition parties would have to spend N$302,500 to field candidates in all 121 constituencies during the upcoming regional council elections are rather over the top.

Historically, most of the opposition parties have never fielded candidates in all the country’s constituencies even when the registration fees were still pegged at N$100 simply because they do not have that national appeal.

We are of the opinion that the new registration fees will ensure the fielding of quality candidates as opposed to the circus that we have seen in past elections including the November 2014 Presidential and National Assembly elections.

Because of the low registration fees we saw some circus acts disguised as opposition parties fielding candidates just for the fun of it crowding the electoral space. Parties like the Namibian Economic Freedom Fighters and the Namibia Democratic Party (NDP) easily come to mind.

NDP leader Martin Lukato could not even afford to get taxi money for himself or to photocopy his campaign material yet he wanted to become the country’s president. What a joker!

The less said about the NEFF and their red berets the better.


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