THE Electoral Commission of Namibia youth ambassadors and trainers in the //Karas region have gone without pay for a month since their recruitment in October on a two-month contract.
Similar reports have also emerged from the Erongo region.
Trained in voter education, the ambassadors presented to other youths topics including the Constitution, elections, democracy, civic rights and obligations, democracy, and political tolerance.
The ambassadors also motivated others and explained the use of the electronic voting machines (EVMs).
A source close to permanent voter education officials indicated that the temporary voter educators, who were each hired on a monthly salary of N$6 000, live off the permanent staff's 'hand-outs' when working outside their home towns because of the non-payment of their salaries.
Service providers in the //Karas region, who provided sound systems and music during the roadshows, also complained that invoices submitted to ECN at the beginning of October for the services rendered, remain unpaid.
“We have agreed that they would pay me immediately after the roadshow. But, every time I enquire about the payment, I am told next week,” DJ Apere fumed.
DJ Apere and another service provider DJ Tony threatened to sue the ECN for default payment of N$9 000 and N$7 500 respectively, if it fails to pay them.
ECN public relations officer Vikitoria Hango confirmed the non-payment, but denied financial constraints.
“We have budgeted money for their salaries and roadshows,” said Hango, who blamed delayed 'paperwork' for the non-payments.
Hango said all outstanding payments will be finalised this week, and that some cheques had already been printed.
“They will, by latest, receive their salaries next week,” Hango said, adding that even the service providers would be paid soon.
“Yes, we have not paid them on time, but they can be assured that we will make the payments soon,” Hango said.
When asked whether the non-payment of salaries has impacted on casual voter educators across the country, Hango hesitantly replied: “Some have not received their salaries while others have”.
Hango apologised to the affected service providers and staff, saying the ECN will ensure they get paid.