Electoral Act clear on party funding – Katjavivi

Home National Electoral Act clear on party funding – Katjavivi

WINDHOEK- The National Assembly Speaker Peter Katjavivi says Namibia already has existing pieces of legislation regulating funding for political parties. 

This comes after some critics questioned why Namibia does not have a law on political party funding which is viewed as an improvement towards transparency in the murky world of party funding.

Critics feel its (disclosure law) absence open the door to corruption and citizens need to know who is paying.
Most countries have laws encouraging parties to disclose their funders.

A week ago, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa joined other world democracies when he signed the Political Party Funding Bill into law which aims to mitigate shady financial undertakings and conflicts of interests within the political sphere.

The South African Political Party Funding law aims to ensure that party may not accept a donation “that it knows or ought reasonably to have known, or suspected, originates from the proceeds of crime and must report that knowledge or suspicion to the [Electoral] Commission”.

It also states that “no person or entity may deliver a donation to a member of a political party other than for party political purposes” and a member of a political party may only receive such a donation “on behalf of the party”.

Asked what Parliament has done or is doing in this regard to ensure Namibia joins other countries in the world to have disclosure laws on political parties funding, Katjavivi said it is public knowledge that Section 141 of the Electoral Act of 2014 clearly talks on the disclosure of foreign and domestic financing of political parties, organisations or other persons.
The Speaker explained that the Act stipulates that a registered political party “may receive within Namibia, or bring or cause to be brought into Namibia, any money or anything which can be cashed or converted into money, from any foreign person or foreign institution which is within or outside Namibia or represented locally in Namibia”.

Further, Katjavivi said Section 141 (ii) of the same Act goes on to say that “any such donation is disclosed in the prescribed manner and the total donation amount that the registered political party, registered organisation, member or person can receive may not exceed a prescribed amount in a financial year”.

He noted that all political parties represented in the Namibian parliament receive operational support funds from the government via parliament. 

He said this is done in accordance with Section 154 of the Electoral Act (Act No.5, 2014). 
“This funding comes from monies appropriated by parliament for that purpose. Furthermore, in terms of Section 155 of the Act the funds are allocated to political parties in accordance with a formula determined by the Ministry of Finance and based on the principle of proportional representation,” Katjavivi said.

Asked how effective the law is and whether all political parties abide or account how these state funds are used, Katjavivi said Section 158 of the Electoral Act clearly states how political parties should account for the public funds that are allocated to them through parliament. 

“All political parties in the country are obliged to provide annual audited financial reports to parliament. Overall, we have laws and regulations in place and all we need to do as citizens and leaders, is to abide by these laws so as to promote a culture of integrity, accountability and professionalism,” he maintained.