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ECN officially confirms registration of AR and ADM as political parties

The Electoral Commission of Namibia has officially confirmed the registration of Action Democratic Movement (ADM) and Affirmative Repositioning (AR) as Political Parties, after they satisfactorily complied with all set requirements. The Commission has deemed it necessary to explain the political party registration process as stipulated in the Electoral Act 5 of 2014, as amended.

Political Party Registration Process

According to sections 135, 136, and 137 of the Electoral Act, a political party must undergo a rigorous registration process. This includes a due diligence process to ensure the legitimacy of the supporting declarations and compliance with the stipulated requirements. Any objections to a party’s registration must be lodged within 30 days of the publication of the objection notice. The Commission then has 14 days to determine the validity of these objections and notify the involved parties.

Action Democratic Movement (ADM) Registration

The ADM submitted its application for registration on August 28, 2023. Following a thorough due diligence process, the Commission published the party objection notice on April 18, 2024. No objections were noted during the 30-day period, which ended on May 18, 2024. However, on May 22, 2024, the Commission received 10 complaints from individuals alleging fraudulent use of their names and signatures. This number later increased to 25.

Since these complaints were submitted after the 30-day objection period, the Commission considered the following actions:
a) The Electoral Act does not explicitly address objections lodged outside the prescribed 30-day period.
b) Complainants were informed and advised why their complaints could not be considered as formal objections.
c) Complaints were referred to the Namibian Police for further investigation. If fraud is proven, the Commission will reconsider the registration of ADM and may deregister the party in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Electoral Act.

Despite these complaints, the Commission approved the registration of ADM based on the above conclusions and action items.

Affirmative Repositioning (AR) Registration

The AR submitted its application for registration on June 26, 2023. The Commission engaged in an extended process with the applicant due to the existing registration of the name AR as an organization. The applicant was required to change the organization’s name and publish a 30-day notice. The application was subsequently presented for approval, followed by a Gazette notice published on May 8, 2024, with the objection period ending on June 8, 2024.

During the objection period, the Commission received three complaints alleging fraudulent signatures on the declaration supporting AR’s registration. The Commission addressed these complaints within the prescribed 14-day period, taking into account the concerns of the objectors.

Membership and Declarations

The Commission noted that many complaints and objections were based on the denial of membership to the applicant body. The Commission clarified that a declaration by a registered voter in support of an application for registration as a political party is merely an expression of support and does not equate to membership in the applicant entity. Membership is governed by the entity’s constitution. The Commission also emphasized that an applicant only becomes a legal entity as a political party after being entered into the Register of registered political parties. Nonetheless, the Commission reiterated that if fraudulent conduct by the registered political parties is proven, it will invoke the relevant provisions of the Electoral Act.

The Commission confirms that both the ADM and AR have been registered as political parties after following the stipulated processes and addressing all relevant objections and complaints. Further investigations are pending to address allegations of fraudulent conduct.