April 22, 2005

New challenge to election results

The Republican Party and the Congress of Democrats are building a new case in a bid to have the November National Assembly elections declared null and void. The parties filed a last-minute case with the High Court by the deadline for challenging the recount election result. "We are not doing this for political gain, but because we are adamant to see to it that elections in Namibia be free and fair, since it constitutes the basis of a true multi-party democracy," said RP President Henk Mudge. Although the case is still not completely formulated, the two parties say irregularities they picked up during last month's recount were expected to form a large part of the evidence in support of electoral flaws said to have characterised the November election. The RP accused the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) of being "puppets of the ruling party", "incompetent and incapable" of being entrusted with the election process.
In March the RP and CoD lodged an urgent application before a bench of three High Court judges, also asking for the election result to be set aside. A recount was ordered. However, Mudge has now declared that nothing less than a fresh election would be acceptable, as even the recount was marred by too many irregularities to be considered a true reflection of the voting process. He contended that Namibians remained unconvinced that the elections were free and fair, and for this reason the party would accept the responsibility of fighting for their constitutional right.
The CoD, which had not joined the case when the application was filed with the court, has now decided to join as complainants. According to CoD Secretary General Kalla Gertze, as a participant in the recount he had obtained a lot of evidence which suggested that the recount was "chaotic" and "irregular". "We will fail if we drop any justice being done and respond to calls of our country in as far as elections are concerned," said Gertze. He contended the recount was carried out in "blatant disrespect" of the March court order and that he had garnered concrete evidence from the recount to support election flaw claims presented to the High Court in March. The Namibia Democratic Movement for Change (NDMC) also supports the new court challenge. "Even it if takes us years, we will leave no stone unturned until justice is revealed," said NDMC Secretary General Claudia Namises.
The court papers for this latest challenge are expected to be served on the ECN, as the first respondents, in the course of next week, as well as other political parties who participated in the election. (The Namibian, Windhoek)


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