ECN commissioners in firing line … opposition parties demand their resignation
The Landless People’s Movement (LPM) and National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo) have called for the immediate sacking of Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) Chief Electoral and Referenda Officer, Theo Mujoro, and the five commissioners.
The call follows Wednesday’s Supreme Court judgement, which found that the directive of then regional, local government and housing minister Charles Namoloh to bring into operation the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) without a verifiable paper trail, was in conflict with the constitution and thus invalid and set aside.
On Wednesday the Supreme Court also ordered the use of paper trail for every election using EVMs.
The current ECN commissioners comprise chairperson Notemba Tjipueja, Ulrich Freyer, Elsie Nghikembua, Gerson Tjihenuna and Evaristus Evaristus.
“That Mujoro, and that lady, what’s her name? Tjipueja must go. In fact the whole commissioners plus Mujoro must go, they have failed us,” said LPM deputy leader and chief strategist Henny Seibeb when speaking to New Era yesterday.
Nudo secretary general Josef Kauandenge said ECN commissioners cannot continue to be allowed to run elections in this country with impunity and lack of respect for constitutional and electoral provisions.
Kauandenge said the ECN must outgrow its dependency on Swapo party and be an institution that is truly independent.
“The ECN commissioners have been the arrogant type, always being self-righteous and refusing to listen to opposition parties whenever issues of transparency and accountability were raised,” he said.
Kauandenge said his party is particularly pleased by the Supreme Court ruling on the use of paper trail for every election using EVMs as of 21 March this year.
“It is time that Namibians be accorded a credible, free and fair process of electing their leaders – something that has been missing for the past years. ECN must take the blame for this mess as they were selective in the implementation of the provisions of the electoral act,” Kauandenge said.
“Equally, parliamentarians must not sleep on duty and make laws that are not clear both in language and content as legal uncertainty is a recipe for disaster in the long run as we have seen in this case.”
Namibian PhD scholar and research director at the Oxford Human Rights Hub Ndjodi Ndeunyema said ECN should seek to be more responsive to concerns when raised, and also avoid being perceived as too closely aligned with the executive, as seen in their correspondence consultations on the paper trail for EVMs with the minister.
“Commissioners should particularly offer the public and political parties specifically the necessary reassurance that come the next set of elections – particularly that in the 2020 regional and local authority elections – EVMs, if used, will retain a credible voter verifiable audit trail as is constitutionally required,” he added.
2020-02-07 07:51:04 | 16 days ago