Windhoek – The electoral court has reserved judgment in an urgent application filed by independent presidential candidate Dr Panduleni Itula against the use of EVMs in next week’s general election without a verifiable trail, among others. Magistrate Uatjo Uanivi will hand down judgement on 25 November after hearing oral arguments from the lawyers representing Itula, ECN and other political parties contesting the elections.
Itula is gunning for the head of the chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) over the alleged missing EVMs.
Itula is seeking a court order that will impose sanctions or penalties which may include criminal sanctions against Notemba Tjipueja for her alleged negligence in dealing with the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
According to Itula, Tjipueja violated her statutory duties in handling of EVMs, which were reported to have gone missing. Media reports stated that the EVMs went missing after they were released by ECN from its custody to the SWAPO party in July 2017.
ECN in their press statement acknowledged the missing machines and further indicated a police case has been opened in an attempt to recover the machines.
The order is one of many that Itula is seeking through an urgent application, which he filled with the Electoral Tribunal at Katutura Magistrates’ court yesterday, where he was accompanied by a horde of his supporters.
Through his urgent application, Itula wants the court to order ECN not to make use of the EVMs for the upcoming National assembly and presidential elections, slated for 27 November. Alternatively, a voter verifiable paper audit trail may be used simultaneously in conjunction with the EVMs.
He further wants an order to direct the ECN at its own cost to appoint duly qualified technicians to inspect the EVMs at every polling station.
Itula further seeks the court to order ECN to implement paper ballots and ballot boxes to function simultaneously and in conjunction with the EVMs.
ECN has painted Itula’s urgent application as baseless and a waste of time, and it was filed in the wrong court which has no jurisdiction over the matter.
They argued that the EVMs have been used in the past elections in 2014 and there were no issues. In addition, there were no complaints in regards to the use of the EVMs.
ECN claims the application by Itula is merely to create drama, with the whole purpose of confusing voters ahead of the elections.
According to ECN, the court should dismiss the application with cost and proceed to struck the case off the court roll, as it is a waste of resources.
Local lawyer Henry Shimutwikeni was representing Itula, with Senior Council William Mokhare representing ECN. The court is set to give a ruling on 25 November.