Germany supports NID’s “Namibia Elections Support Programme"Enlarge image from l. to r. Mrs. Uta Staschewski (Hanns Seidel Foundation), Ambassador Onno Hückmann , Mr. Theunis Keulder (NID), Mrs.Naita Hishoona (NID) and Mrs. Jana Wall (German Embassy) (© German Embassy, Windhoek)
On 5 February 2014 German Ambassador to Namibia H.E. Onno Hückmann and the Executive Director of the Namibia Institute for Democracy (NID) Theunis Keulder signed a Project Agreement whereby the Federal German Government will fund the Election Support Programme to be implemented by (NID) to the value of N$ 367,030.00.
This follows initial support by the UNDP to this programme, which has as its overall objective to develop a social and political environment conducive to a transparent, free, fair, lawful, and balanced National and Presidential election process scheduled for 2014 by ensuring that:
- Namibians are able to make their choice between registered political parties during the elections in an informed manner and are able to report perceived electoral irregularities;
- Contentious issues, such as political intolerance, that may present challenges to the current socio-political stability, which may pose a risk to the holding of peaceful elections are identified, publicly discussed and practical solutions thereto sought;
- Capacity of all political parties is built in all aspects of proper campaigning, gender equality, the management of their public profiles and to observe the election processes.
The Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Namibia, Onno Hückmann, said at the signing ceremony that he is delighted to support NID’s project in order to strengthen civil society participation in voting. He supports the aim of the NID project to improve the conditions for conducting free and fair elections, thus enhancing confidence in the democratization process as a key measure for fostering civil and political human rights.
According to NID Executive Director, Theunis Keulder, it is important to ensure that each voter is completely knowledgeable about procedures to be followed before, during and after polling to ensure a transparent, free and fair process. The NID therefore aims to conduct voter education as part of ongoing civic education programmes. Funding from the Federal Republic of Germany will be used to publish a newspaper insert, Guide to Elections in Namibia, to ensure that each voter has the necessary information to vote, but can also observe the elections process and can participate in a mobile based reporting system to which the public can SMS, email or submit instances of perceived irregularities through the social media.
The overall goal of this activity is to build an effective mechanism for a broad-based election observation activity that is not limited to the deployment of specific election observers but enables ordinary citizens to comprehensively review and scrutinize systems of voter registration and eligibility, elections media reporting and access, impartiality of election administrators, and freedom to vote. A feedback and reporting system using a social media platform will be established by the NID, and reports obtained from the electorate will feed into the NID’s overall report on the elections. Furthermore, a panel discussion series will be organised to address challenges that are experienced and identify issues that need to be revisited, re-evaluated, reconceptualised, re-articulated and if necessary revised. A political party training programme for all registered parties is also planned.
The NID will closely cooperate with the Hanns Seidel Stiftung in the execution of project activities and trusts that, through this project, the long-term cooperation in elections support programs with the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN), Non-Governmental Organizations, institutions of tertiary education and the media are consolidated.