A deeply divided National Assembly yesterday failed to reach consensus of the nominated Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) commissioners, forcing an indefinite postponement of the special session.
The special sitting was called by President Hage Geingob to approve his nominated ECN commissioners as well as the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) director general and deputy director general for fresh five-year terms in office.
“The nominated three candidates, I believe, will play an important role in ensuring that ECN delivers on the mandate it was created for. All the requirements of the Act have been fully met and I, therefore, seek the concurrence of this august House to approve the appointments,” deputy speaker Loide Kasingo, in her motivation for the appointment of ECN commissioners, said.
As the time lapsed at 17h45 yesterday, speaker Peter Katjavivi had no choice but to indefinitely postpone the sitting, after Swapo chief whip Hambyuka Hamunyera failed to state in his submission that the debate could proceed indefinitely and, therefore, scuppered any chance of speedily concluding the proceedings.
Some MPs were of the opinion that the positions should be readvertised, as there were no proper vetting done to determine the commissioners’ political affiliations.
PDM’s McHenry Venaani accused the nominated commissioners of being active Swapo members.
Safety and security minister Albert Kawana as well as information minister Peya Mushelenga defended the nominations of the three commissioners.
Kawana also rejected the notion that Swapo members should occupy offices of responsibility.
“That a member of Swapo, supporter of Swapo, sympathiser of Swapo, should never occupy any position, that one I reject,” he said.
Nudo parliamentarian Josef Kauandenge late yesterday claimed Swapo tried to bulldoze through the appointments but failed to properly adhere to parliamentary rules.
Geingob nominated director general Paulus Noa and his deputy Erna van der Merwe for reappointment for another five years.
Geingob also nominated Elsie Nghikembua as the new chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) following interviews held in May this year.
The other nominated commissioners are University of Namibia lecturer Emmerentia Leonard and former director of elections Joram Rukambe.
Parliament is expected to rubber-stamp the nomination during today’s session.