Namibia: PDM Refuses to Budge, Threatens Court Action Over Electoral Act

22 October 2019

Windhoek — The Popular Democratic Movement says it will approach the courts in a bid to have the contentious section 77 of the Electoral Act of 2014 reviewed.

The PDM last week said it will not comply with the Electoral Act as well as an interpretation of Article 47 of the Namibian Constitution that compels aspiring parliamentarians and those employed in the public service to first resign from their positions before running for office.

The PDM claims the ECN has misintepretated the law.

According to the ECN, party members employed in the public service, as well as the National Council, regional and local authorities, must first resign upon their nomination as candidates for political office.

The ECN cited section 77 (4) of the Electoral Act, 5 of 2014 that states: "A person may only be nominated as a candidate on a list of candidates if the person - (a) qualifies to be elected as a member of the National Assembly by virtue of Article 46 (1) (a) of the Namibian Constitution."

However, PDM disagrees with the interpretation, saying an official can only resign once duly elected.

"If there is any rejection of the names of the Popular Democratic Movement, we will go to court. We will go to court because the ECN had enough time to inform us.

We spent money and we had electoral colleges. It's not upon Ngaringombe, Venaani, or whoever in the party to wake up in the morning and remove people's names from the list. We have due processes that we can't follow now. So, if ECN rejects our names on their misinterpretation of the constitution, we are going to hit the courts," he threatened.

ECN Chief Electoral Officer Theo Mujoro maintained that the law is clear, adding whoever does not comply would face the consequences. "We are going to remove their names. It's as simple as that. We will ensure they comply like all other parties. We are going to run their names through a rigorous checking process. We will notify them, and if they do not comply, we will take appropriate actions. Even if during checking process, we are unable to detect people on the list, the law empowers the commission to remove the names who were unlawfully added on the list," he said.

Last week, 16 of the 17 Swapo MP hopefuls resigned from their respective positions in compliance with the Electoral Act. Another MP hopeful, who was at number 91 on the ruling party's list of parliamentary candidates, withdrew her name from the race to continue as a local authority councillor.

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