Namibia: Shaningwa Accuses ECN of Tarnishing Swapo's Image

Lesotho Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro (file photo).
21 September 2021

SWAPO secretary general Sophia Shaningwa says the ruling party will not join other parties to recount the Ndonga Linena constituency election outcome, which was recently nullified by the High Court.

She also accused the ECN of a "choreographed attempt" to tarnish Swapo's name.

Shaningwa wants the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) to conduct a rerun of the Ndonga Linena election, which took place in November last year, claiming the current process has already been compromised.

Swapo candidate Michael Kampota was declared the winner and sworn in as regional councillor for the Ndonga Linena constituency after he received 12 more votes than Daniel Djami of the All People's Party (APP).

Kampota received 1 073 votes, while Djami had 1 061 votes.

Two candidates from the Popular Democratic Movement and the Independent Patriots for Change received 146 and 70 votes, respectively.

About 57 ballots were rejected at 11 fixed and mobile polling points in the constituency.

The APP contested that the rejected ballots had markings which indicated the voters' candidate of choice, but the ballots were nevertheless rejected and were not included among the counted votes.

Swapo, like other political parties that participated in the Ndonga Linena constituency election, was invited to witness the recount of the ballots as ordered by the High Court.

Shaningwa, however, at a press conference yesterday said the party feels the current process is already an illegality and that it is an "unwarranted, systematic and choreographed attempt by the ECN" to tarnish Swapo's name.

She further accused the ECN of having an agenda against Swapo after sealed boxes, in which ballots casted at last year's elections were kept, were allegedly accessed in their absence.

According to her, the party has learnt that the seals it left on the concerned boxes were unsealed "by persons not known to Swapo, and our agents were not invited to observe the process".

"The question is: How did the ECN and APP manage to open the ballot boxes without the presence of Swapo agents? Swapo will vehemently refuse to be used as a tool for validating unlawful acts. If the ECN could not invite Swapo when they accessed officially sealed materials as stipulated in the law, why should it be important now for Swapo to participate in activities where provisions of the law have been broken and not adhered to?" Shaningwa asked.

She said Swapo was especially disappointed with the statements of former ECN chairperson Notemba Tjipueja, who said the commission incorrectly declared Swapo as the winner of that election.

"These pronunciations (sic) are not only reckless, but are far-fetched and have compromised the ECN as a truly professional body that is delivering professionally driven election results to the Namibian people.

"If indeed the High Court had ordered a recount, what was the reason behind the pronouncement allegedly made by the outgoing chairperson of the ECN, what is the agenda being perpetrated here?" she asked.

Shaningwa said based on the above, a fresh election for the Ndonga Linena constituency is the only possible cause of action to resolve the matter.

"We are left with more questions than answers. We trusted the ECN fully to freely run democratic elections in our country, we have never interfered in the way the ECN has been running elections. But cutting our official seals without us made us develop more questions than answers," Shaningwa said.

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