ECN wants N$22 million for missing laptops

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ECN wants N$22 million for missing laptops
ECN wants N$22 million for missing laptops

Africa-Press – Namibia. IN the run-up to the Presidential and National Assembly elections, the Electoral Commission of Namibia has earmarked N$22 million to procure mobile voters registration kits after failing to recover the hundreds that went missing.

This is an addition to N$83 million that the commission has set aside for the procurement of other office materials and supplies, election materials, other goods and services, including rental of election venues.

These details are captured in ECN’s budget motivation for the 2024/2025 financial year tabled before the National Assembly for debate last week.

For the current financial year, ECN was allocated N$438 million to prepare, organise and conduct elections slated for 27 November this year.

The envisaged high expenditure on the gadgets is attributed to the mysterious disappearance of 117 laptops at the commission’s head office.

To date, no recovery has been made.

ECN chief electoral officer Petrus Shaama told New Era recently that investigations into the theft are ongoing.

He, however, indicated that the internal inquiry has been finalised and the staff members responsible for safeguarding the laptops have faced disciplinary action.

“Considering that the assets in question are the property of the state, a criminal case was opened upon discovery that the laptops were missing” Shaama said.

While motivating the budget in parliament, National Assembly Speaker Peter Katjavivi stated that the trickle-down effect is to three key programmes, namely the administration of elections, voter and civic education and information dissemination, and policy coordination and support service.

The largest chunk of the budget will go to the general registration of voters (GVR) vote.

The commission is required to conduct the GRV every 10 years and compile a new voters’ register. The last GRV was conducted in 2014.

This year’s GVR will kick off on 3 June, and will run until 1 August.

The exercise cost the ECN about N$161 million as the commission is expected to recruit, train and deploy 16 000 election officials to conduct the general registration of voters and the subsequent polling process.

Furthermore, the commission will require to outsource 1 500 vehicles during the GVR, and a further 2 500 during the Presidential and National Assembly elections.

To administer the elections, an amount of N$269 million has been allocated, while N$47 has been earmarked for voter and civic education.

Additionally, ECN set aside a N$3.5 million contingency fund in the event of by-elections.

For policy coordination, supervision and support services, N$69 million is required.

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