PDM owes party agents N$1,7m

… Ngaringombe says agents ‘are being selfish’

By Eliaser Ndeyanale

THE official opposition, the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) has been criticised by its members for donating groceries to help families during the coronavirus pandemic, when the party owes them N$1,7 million in unpaid wages. Those who are owed are said to be PDM members who acted as party agents during the general elections in November last year.

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According to impeccable sources, regional coordinators were asked by the office of the secretary-general to recruit party agents to represent the party at the polling stations with a promise of N0 payment per person, scheduled to be paid in December last year but they have not been paid.

“Up to date, nothing has been availed despite the movement giving food to alleged Covid-19 affected communities and pledging vehicles to use as ambulance during this epidemic period.

Regional leaders are now being insulted by the agents and threatening to open police cases regarding their remuneration. The office of the secretary general is quiet though messages and calls are forwarded to him.

“This affects all 16 political regions of PDM.

We are told there is no money, despite political parties having received their quarterly money from Parliament,” said an agent who refused to be named.

The Electoral Commission of Namibia had 4 241 polling stations and the party had two agents at every polling station, bringing the figure to 8 482 agents. The agent further said their payment had been postponed and that they were astounded to learn that the party was donating food. The agent said they believe that the party is electioneering as they are also hungry, like those that were given food.

Over the past weekend the PDM shared photos online of its secretary general Manuel Ngaringombe and its Erongo regional coordinator Roger Nautoro donating to 430 small miners outside Karibib. One picture also showed Ngaringombe giving food to people at Katutura Youth Centre.

“As an effort to meet government and its stakeholders halfway in the fight against Covid-19, PDM donated food parcels to the needy families residing at Katutura Youth Complex,” the party wrote on its Twitter account. In the picture, food items such as meat, onions, maize meal, sugar and cooking oil can be seen.

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Approached for comment, Ngaringombe said those who are castigating the PDM for assisting the needy are being selfish because according to him, this is a time of catastrophe and his party needs to assist were possible. “We need to differentiate things, we told those who represented the party at the poll that they were going to be paid when we get money from Parliament, because it’s a lot of money that needs to be paid.

“This is an emergency situation. There is a disaster in the country, we told them that we needed to rehabilitate our finances, then we can get back to them. We gave food to homeless people at Khomasdal stadium, Katutura Youth Complex and those who sleep under the bridges – those who have nothing to eat. I think those who are saying that [they must be paid first] are a little bit selfish.”