WINDHOEK – Independent presidential candidate Dr Panduleni Itula and four others will have to provide strong evidence of electoral manipulation in their bid to have the results of the November 2019 presidential election overturned, say commentators.
In the case to be heard tomorrow in the Supreme Court, Itula stands alongside Henk Mudge of the Republican Party, Epafras Mukwiilongo of the Namibian Economic Freedom Fighters, Ignatius Shixwameni of the All People’s Party and Mike Kavekotora of the Rally for Democracy and Progress in an attempt to have last year’s presidential election nullified and held again.
In November last year, the Electoral Tribunal ruled it had no jurisdiction over the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) and thus could not direct it not to make use of the electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the elections.
Local political commentator Professor Nico Horn believes Itula and his co-applicants have a challenge ahead of them, as they need to provide strong evidence of any wrongful action that may have occurred during voting, which would be difficult to do as there is no paper trail.
“I believe he has a slim chance of having the court rule in his favour if he bases his case on the grounds that the Electoral Commission of Namibia promised in 2015 that they would make use of the paper trail for the 2019 general elections but failed to do so. On that he has a case,” explained Horn. Horn wants to see the court properly pronounce itself on the issue of paper trail so that in the future the electorate would not have to question the authenticity of election results.
Another commentator and Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) executive director Graham Hopwood believes Itula and his co-applicants, in order to have the court rule in their favour, have to provide strong evidence of malpractice or direct manipulation.
“Currently from the documents it seems like he is challenging the fact that the Electoral Commission of Namibia did not make use of the paper trail and the legal technicalities around it. I think they would have to give tangible evidence to that effect,” explained Hopwood.
Oral arguments in the matter will be heard on Friday in the Supreme Court where the applicants are to be represented by local lawyer Elize Ndjavera Angula.
During last year’s presidential vote, President Hage Geingob, who stood as the Swapo candidate, was duly elected after shrugging off a spirited challenge from Itula. But Geingob, who had obtained close to 87 percent of the vote in 2014, had to settle for 56.3 percent this time around, while Itula came second with 29.4 percent. The president-elect received 464 703 votes, while his main challenger got 242 657.
2020-01-16 07:43:37 | 5 days ago