Government workers out to milk ECN- Activist

Outspoken activist Carola Engelbrecht has slammed individuals on government payroll for rushing to apply for election jobs just to benefit from the daily allowances.


The electoral commission opened this week with a whole day of interviews with shortlisted candidates at the national council building for positions of electoral commissioners.


“I think we could do things more efficiently and our Namibian people can be more patriotic and say I don’t want so much money. If I see these advertisements in the paper, the 16 687 people who they are now recruiting, they are immense daily allowances for people who are already paid by the government,” she said at the sidelines of the interviews.


The civil servants are being seconded which means they are able to keep their full-time government jobs to go make a quick buck at the ECN, Engelbrecht said.


She said the allowances run into N$2 500 on a daily basis which should rather be going to the unemployed or those without a sustainable pool of monthly income.


What makes the situation worse is that civil servants receive various benefits on top of full salaries and she said it was time that people became sensitive to the financial situation government is embroiled in.


“Now the teacher and the policeman and the nurse who are working, if they are honest, they pay the salaries of these senior people. They pay taxes, to me, this is grossly unfair. They always make this issue about the gap between the rich and the poor, making it a black and white issue. It’s not, no more. It’s the issue between the haves and the have-nots and it’s usually between the politically connected and the politically disconnected,” she slammed.


Meanwhile, the interviews which were slated to start at 09.00am were delayed.


The Institute for Public Policy Research criticised the organisers for starting at “very short notice” and only publicising the interviews in the government gazette of January 15 and not in the media.


“This will inevitably have the effect of excluding much of the public from what is an important public process,” said IPPR.


The Electoral Commission of Namibia’s proposed budget ceiling for the 2018/19 financial year was initially cut from N$106 million to only N$68 million, implying a budget reduction of N$38 million while the entire capital project budget was cut to zero.


From the paltry N$68 million, an amount of N$51 million has been put to personnel expenses for in-house staff while non-personnel expenses have been reduced to a measly N$17 million. 


Speaker of Parliament, Peter Katjavivi last year raised the red card over the ability of the ECN to fulfill its mandate.


He said, “Usually such an amount of N$17 million under normal circumstances is merely for one division in the ECN and not for the whole agency.”


He said that this implies that the N$17 million shall be distributed amongst all divisions of the vote counting body.


Katjavivi made his emotions clear and told parliament that the entire operations of the ECN will be greatly challenged during 2018/19.