Namibia: Appeal Lodged Over Failed Election Challenge

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The Workers Revolutionary Party, Swanu and a faction of the Rally for Democracy and Progress yesterday announced that they have filed an urgent appeal to the Supreme Court after an attempt to have Namibia's 2019 National Assembly election declared invalid came to nothing in the Electoral Court.

Speaking at a media briefing in Windhoek, WRP secretary for information Amanda Tsoeu also charged that the three judges who were supposed to hear an electoral challenge of the WRP and Swanu in the Electoral Court denied them a hearing on the merits of their case.

Tsoeu said the WRP, Swanu and the RDP, of which a faction led by Kandy Nehova supported the first two parties' attempt to have the 2019 National Assembly election declared invalid, have lodged a Supreme Court appeal against the Electoral Court's refusal to hear their case, and have also laid a complaint with the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) against judge Nate Ndauendapo and acting judge Orben Sibeya. In their complaint to the JSC the parties claim that judge Ndauendapo "openly declared that he is representing the opposition" - a reference to the respondents cited in the parties' election challenge - during a case management hearing in the Electoral Court on 12 March, by raising the issue that the Electoral Act required the WRP and Swanu to provide security for the costs of their opponents in the matter when they filed their case.

Having mentioned that the law required the furnishing of security for costs by the applicants in an electoral court challenge, the judges on the bench - judge Ndauendapo, judge Christie Liebenberg and acting judge Sibeya - ordered that the WRP and Swanu should provide security in an amount of N$50 000.

The WRP then offered a bakkie registered in the party's name and valued at about N$216 000 as security to the court's registrar. However, the judges refused to accept this, stating that the registration certificate provided to the court fell short of proving the ownership of the vehicle and that no resolution from the WRP stating that it is the owner of the vehicle and that it may be tendered as security had been provided to the court. On that note, the three judges removed the case from the court roll on 13 March.

On 18 March, the WRP and Swanu had the case placed back on the roll for a hearing, but the judges issued an order in which they stated that in their view the two parties did not comply with the previous order of 13 March, and that the matter was thus erroneously on the court roll and would not be heard.

That order scuttled the two parties' attempt to have the National Assembly election declared null and void and to get an interdict restraining chief justice Peter Shivute and deputy chief justice Petrus Damaseb from swearing in president Hage Geingob for a second term as Namibia's head of state.

The WRP and Swanu claimed that the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) procured electronic voting machines (EVMs) from the Indian Army without having drawn up specifications for the EVMs it wanted to acquire, and without following a public procurement process.

In an affidavit filed at the Electoral Court, Tsoeu argued that the EVMs used by the ECN in last year's elections had to have a voter-verifiable paper trail, and charged that the ECN and the president violated the Constitution and contravened the Electoral Act, affecting the results of the 2019 elections.

She also alleged that by making use of EVMs bought from the Indian Army, the ECN and the government have turned Namibia into "a failed pariah state without sovereignty in which its political outcomes are being determined by the Indian state".

Tsoeu said yesterday that the WRP, Swanu and the RDP are now appealing on an urgent basis to the Supreme Court to hear the merits of its case about "the nullification of Namibia's sovereignty by the Indian Army", the dysfunctionality of electronic voter registration and EVMs, and "the fatal incompetence" of the ECN.

She also said: "Nevertheless, it pains us to inform the Namibian working people that we do not have a judiciary worth the name. It combines with the fishing scandal and other destruction of the country's resources to put this country into terminal crisis."

Also speaking at the media briefing, WRP leader Hewat Beukes charged that Namibia's judiciary was facing "a crisis of credibility and competence".

He also accused the judiciary of being "corrupt to its core", and said that with such a situation wider corruption in Namibia would also continue.

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