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Unemployed youths raise questions over election body’s recruitment process

Written by on May 27, 2024

A group of unemployed young people have written to the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) last week to raise concern over the way the commission handled the recruitment of temporary employees.

They accuse the commission of corruption in the recruitment process of polling officials for the General Registration of Voters (GRV) and November 2024 elections.

The ECN advertised various positions for election officials from 18 March to 8 April 2024.

The advertised positions include polling officers, youth ambassadors, IT technicians, logistics officers and administrative officers to be deployed during both the GRV and the polling process.

Group leader Bertha Ndeulyatele says the recruitment process lacks transparency and that little to no information was provided regarding the criteria used for candidate selection, the weighting of qualifications and experience and the overall decision-making process.

According to Ndeulyatele, highly qualified and experienced individuals who met or exceeded the stated job requirements were overlooked.

The advert issued by the ECN required qualified Namibian citizens who are unemployed to submit their applications and every applicant was requested to prove they are not active members or office–bearers of a political party by submitting a police declaration.

Ndeulyatele says there was a notable lack of communication with applicants regarding the status of their applications, feedback on their qualifications and explanations for why they were not selected. The ECN announced earlier that it has received 82 976 applications for the advertised positions, but only

3 280 officials are required for the GRV process. The commission has also rubbished the allegations, stating that it followed its policies and procedures in the recruitment process.

Peter Shaama

ECN chief electoral and referenda officer Peter Shaama says the ECN takes all allegations of corruption seriously and can assure the public that the recruitment process for polling officials was conducted in a transparent and merit-based manner.

Shaama says the recruitment was done in compliance with the timelines as outlined in the 2024 electoral calendar.

Ndeulyatele, however, says some constituencies have large populations where five or six teams of four officials will not be enough
“There will be challenges in assisting senior citizens and disabled citizens who take up much time. This has already been a challenge in the past. Considering the population increase as indicated by the census report conducted by the Namibia Statistics Agency, the success of the registration exercise seems to be a far-fetched dream,” she says. Ndeulyatele has demanded that the ECN conducts a thorough investigation to mitigate the issue of double employment. “Candidates who are already employed elsewhere, but have filed leave with the intention of capitalising on this opportunity should be removed from the system to pave the way for genuinely unemployed candidates who could not get an opportunity,” she says.

She further asks the commission to release a list of the current candidates in one document, and for it to be published on the ECN’s website.

Meanwhile, ECN spokesperson Mulauli Siluka has asked the public to come forward with information if they know of any shortlisted candidate already employed.

“Should it be proven that an applicant made false representations regarding their employment status, the commission will withdraw the appointment of such an individual,” he says.

Siluka says the ECN could not accommodate full-time tertiary students, as the job is from 07h00 to 20h00, adding that it will not be favourable for their day-to-day activities.

Swapo central committee member and youth leader Willem Amutenya describes the matter as “pure robbery of young people’s limited hope”, and said it should be condemned.

Mulauli Siluka

He says institutions cannot hide behind experience, as young people are trainable and competent to acquire the required skills to do the job.

“We should spread the limited cake equally. Unemployment is depressing to us; therefore, we should be sensitive when addressing issues related to it,” says Amutenya.

He says the Swapo Party Youth League is committed to addressing unemployment and will engage the relevant authorities to ensure fairness and transparency.

Meanwhile, Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters commissar of communication Theresia Hamurenge says if the ECN recruited people who are already employed and those without the qualifications they stated in their advert, then they wronged the public.

“They stated requirements which, after recruitment, they didn’t adhere too. Thus, leaving a thought of corruption in the public eye,” she says.

The post Unemployed youths raise questions over election body’s recruitment process appeared first on The Namibian.

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