Namibia: Election Court Challenge to Be Heard in January

30 December 2019

THE Supreme Court will on 17 January hear arguments on the electoral challenge through which independent presidential candidate Panduleni Itula and four others are trying to get a rerun of Namibia's presidential election.

Supreme Court judge Dave Smuts today presided over a case management hearing with the various parties to the case to establish a timeline for the filing of court papers and to determine the date of the final hearing.

Applicants Itula, Henk Mudge (Republican Party), Epafrans Mukwiilongo (Namibian Economic Freedom Fighters), Ignatius Shixwameni (All People's Party) and Mike Kavekotora (Rally for Democracy and Progress), represented by Eliza Angula, are asking the court to set aside the result of the presidential election held on 27 November, and to order that a fresh presidential election should be held.

According to the poll results announced on 30 November, president Hage Geingob won the election with 56% of the votes cast, while Itula was placed second, having received 29% of the votes.

Itula and the other four applicants are basing their attack on the conduct of the presidential election on the Electoral Commission of Namibia's decision to make use of electronic voting machines (EVMs), and are arguing that the Electoral Act required that the ECN could make use only of EVMs accompanied by a verifiable paper trail.

The four applicants will have to file their final founding affidavits by 10 January, with the respondents to file their responses by 15 January, judge Smuts directed.

He also ordered that the applicants should file a complete index and five sets of the case record they want to submit to the court by tomorrow (31 December).

Because the applicants have filed an additional affidavit, not included in their original application, after the fact, judge Smuts directed that the court will decide on the admissability of this when it hears the case on 17 January.

The respondents have until Thursday this week (2 January) to respond to this late-filed affidavit, to which the applicants must reply by 7 January.

Judge Smuts also gave the respondents time until tomorrow to file any supplementary affidavits of their own.

The respondents in the case are the president, the minister of urban and rural development, the attorney general, the electoral commission and its chairperson, Geingob in his capacity as Swapo candidate in the election, and the rest of the political parties and their leaders that participated in this year's elections.

Only the president, the minister, the attorney general, the electoral commission and its chairperson have indicated that they are opposing the bid to have the presidential election set aside and repeated.

They are being represented by legal counsel Sakeus Akweenda and Eliaser Nekwaya.

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