Namibia: PDM Leaders Fight for Parly Seats

10 February 2020

Some of the young leaders of the Popular Democratic Movement, who were part of the 96-member list submitted to the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) last year, are demanding for their inclusion in the next National Assembly.

The four disgruntled have approached a local law firm in their fight to be part of the 16 members of parliament on the PDM ticket. Charmaine Tjirare, Hidipo Hamata, Yvette Araes, and Maximilliant Katjimune through their lawyers wrote to the ECN demanding the commission to suspend the announcement of the declaration of party candidates to the National Assembly, pending the resolution of the matter.

There is confusion on who should exactly feature on the PDM list following the ECN directive in October last year that all politicians employed in the public service, as well as those serving in local and regional authorities should resign from their jobs upon being nominated as National Assembly candidates. Initially, the party submitted to ECN a list consisting of leader McHenry Venaani, Jennifer van den Heever, Ricky Vries, Vipua Muharukua, Nico Smit, Jan van Wyk, Elma Dienda, Esme !Aebes, Johannes Martin, Kazeongere Tjeundo, Inna Hengari, Geoffrey Mwilima, Elizabeth Celeste Becker, Sydney Ndumba, Winnie Moongo and Pieter Mostert at number 16. However, following the October directive, ECN automatically removed some PDM members [who had refused to resign] from the party list in order to comply with the Electoral Act.

Following the removal of those PDM members, the ECN adjusted the party's list of candidates for the National Assembly elections, which was finally gazetted. The list which was gazetted after the removal of some members was in the following order: Venaani, followed by Van Den Heever, Ricky Vries, Vipua Muharukua, Nico Smit, Jan van Wyk, Elma Dienda, Inna Hengari, Elizabeth Becker, Winnie Moongo, Frans Bertolini, Charmaine Tjirare, Yvette Araes, Maximilliant Katjimune, Raymond Diergaardt and Venaani's father, Mike Venaani at number 16. Thus, the four feel they should be included into the list of 16 members going to the National Assembly in terms of section 77(1) Electoral Act, Act 5 of 2014.

The National Assembly elections party candidate list was then also duly published in the Government Gazette on 7 November 2019 as required by section 78(1)(b) and (c) of the Electoral Act their lawyers.

"Subsequent to the elections, Mr Reggie Reginald Diergaardt (number 15) withdrew his name on the list, which resulted in the names on the list moving up, and our client, Mr Hidipo Hamata moved to number 16, and Mr Mike Venaani (previously number 16) moved to number 15. As a result, our clients, being at numbers 12, 13, 14 and 16 on the list, are therefore duly elected members of the National Assembly, as contemplated in the Electoral Act."

However, according to the letter their clients recently learnt that PDM forwarded a different list of names to the electoral commission, by adding Esmeralda! Aebes, Johannes Martin, Kazeongere Tjeundo, Geoffrey Mwilima, Sydney Ndumbah and Pieter Mostert.

The lawyers say these members were not on the National Assembly elections party candidate list for PDM that was published by the ECN in the Government Gazette of 7 November 2019, and consequently, they were not duly elected as members of the National Assembly.


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