Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) president Panduleni Itula has confirmed that the party has bought 101 double-cab vehicles for its activities, but declines to disclose the purchase price or funding source.
Political commentators are calling for the IPC, which advocates transparency in the government, to be transparent on this purchase, amounting to more than N$40 million.
This comes after a seemingly successful launch of the party’s main election campaign in Windhoek on Saturday, where it showcased its fleet.
The lack of clarity on the party’s funding source is, however, raising eyebrows – particularly since the party does not receive government funding.
“The IPC leadership and party shall not entertain questions pertaining to political activities in the Republic of Namibia, as we too joined our fellow Namibians to mourn the passing of our beloved head of state, Hage Geingob,” Itula said this week.
IPC spokesperson Immanuel Nashinge on Wednesday said: “We are not engaging in political activity until after the burial.”
The party’s national secretary general Christine !Auchamus did not answer questions regarding the acquisition of the vehicles and whether the source of funding had been disclosed in the party’s financial report submitted to the Electoral Commission of Namibia.
A local car dealer announced on its website that it sells a single GWM P-Series double-cab for N$469 900. If, for example, the vehicles were bought locally and at a price of N$469 900, it means the three year-old party could have spent about N$47 million.
Institute for Public Policy Research executive director Graham Hopwood says it would be sensible for parties demanding transparency from the government to demonstrate they are also transparent about their sources of funding. Political science lecturer at the University of Namibia Rui Tyitende says if the IPC sees itself as a government in waiting, it would need to account to the public as to how it was able to finance the vehicles.
“Was it a loan? If yes, how are they going to pay it back? Were they sponsored by outside forces? If yes, what would be the degree of reciprocity?” he says.
Political analyst Ndumba Kamwanyah says it is essential for any political party or leader to be transparent to avoid creating suspicion.
“It’s unfortunate for a party running on transparency and good governance, because when you answer the media’s questions, it enhances your credibility,” he says.
Hopwood says: “If the funding comes from outside Namibia, the amount and the source have to be made public. There is an annual limit on the amount that can be received by a party in the form of foreign donations.”
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