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Elections, a security threat

Elections, a security threat

By Farai Tinashe Munoriarwa

Elections since time and memorial have been an integral part of the institutions of democracy and statehood, as they represent freedom of choice, expression and will. In theory and ideally elections present a façade of being peaceful and harmonious then again in practice that may not be the case.

Elections entail a three tier process, pre-elections, elections and post-elections. Simply put elections are a competition for legitimate power with numerous political parties involved. Human nature in a competitive environment creates turmoil and uproar as with any competition there has to be a winner and a loser.

Nonetheless, elections essentially should present non-violent competition allowing the electorate to express their civil liberties.

The electoral process presents various vulnerabilities in the form of security threats both to the state and people. These threats manifest themselves in the three tier process affecting critical infrastructure which in the latter affect individuals and the day to day administration and management of governance within the state.

Evidently, elections have become a security threat across the globe as seen with the unrest that occurred in the USA after Trump won the elections in December 2016, the recent elections in Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The numerous shutdowns in South Africa present the pre-election disruption of the normal modus operandi of the country. Violence and elections have become synonymous with each other creating a coexisting relationship. This unpleasant relationship has coined the term electoral violence which is a member of the political violence family.

There are numerous variables that are in place that contribute to one of the most important, if not the most important institutions of democracy being a security threat. One of the dimensions that seems to exist is the fact that violence during the fundamental process of elections is used to influence behavior by changing the hearts and minds of the electorate which can affect the overall outcome elections.

The last tier of the election process presents violence a way of distorting the results and dissatisfaction of the results announced which is relatedly common in the world. These actions become a threat as in most cases they are violent and cause harm to the state and its citizens. Elections present the greatest threat to human security mainly personal, political, health and economic security.

In the midst of the electoral process, is the variable of a state’s economy which is essential to the electorate as all political party manifestos speak on economic growth. Currently, were globally we have moved past an economic recession into a depression in which most state economies are seeing very little economic growth if any at all.

Little to no economic growth during an election year can possess risks especially if there is a high unemployment rate within the state. Unemployment creates desperation amongst society and fuels the appetite to provide for oneself by any means necessary which lead to the constant perpetuation of violence which can be sponsored by a political party to alter the behavior of the electorate and candidates.

Correspondingly, unemployment has led to the easier recruitment for terrorist organization exploiting the desperation and willingness of an unemployed person to make ends meet. This clouds individual moral compass which later can affect a group leading to the creation of resentment towards the nation-state. Like any other risk there are certain triggers and expressions that should be monitored and countered in order to prevent unwarranted mayhem. Just like abuse the threat may not be physical but it may be verbal affecting the mental aspects of a human’s security, lest we forget that word of mouth can be a powerful tool to disseminate information.

Elections as a security threat can be countered and reprimanded throughout the three tier process. In an ideal world trust and transparency from all stakeholders involved in the election process can be a counter measure to any risk and harm.

Like in any other competition, the rules of engagement have to be clear in order to protect the integrity and validity of the elections. The greatest counter measure is the announcement of result within the specified timeline with all stakeholder present this counters the risk of violence post elections creating a harmonious aftermath to an event that is full of mixed feelings.

Countering of risk towards human and state security has to involve the necessary apparatus in the form of the security forces that should be equally ready to man the task at hand.


About The Author

SADC Correspondent

SADC correspondents are independent contributors whose work covers regional issues of southern Africa outside the immediate Namibian ambit. Ed.

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia


20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.