Independent presidential candidate Dr Panduleni Itula, who last week declared President Hage Geingob as a legitimate head of state, has once again launched another legal bid to have the Supreme Court review its judgement of last week, which upheld the results of last year’s presidential vote.
The outcome of the 2019 presidential elections was challenged by Itula, who stood as an independent candidate, as well as 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.
Itula now wants the top court to review its judgement, including setting aside the November presidential election result on an urgent basis.
Last week, Chief Justice Peter Shivute handed down the highly publicised judgement stating the court declined to set aside the 2019 presidential elections and to order a re-run as sought by Itula and other presidential candidates.
Shivute, who wrote the judgement in agreement with judges of appeal Sylvester Mainga and Dave Smuts, Elton Hoff and acting Judge of Appeal Bess Nkabinde, said the irregularities complained about by the applicants were explained away satisfactorily. Although the court declined to order a re-run of the elections, it found that the Electoral Commission of Namibia’s (ECN) decision to make use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) without a verifiable paper trail in the 2019 elections was unconstitutional and set aside. In the notice of motion, Itula and others are seeking to substitute parts of the orders set down by the Supreme Court on 5 February.
The group wants the 2019 presidential election results set aside but such an order should not affect the validity of the National Assembly election and all other elections of office bearers before 20 March 2020 or any action they may have taken. The group further seeks an order for the respondents, who are the minister of urban and rural development, the attorney general, the ECN and its chairperson to pay their legal fees.
The new bid that was filed on Monday is in terms of Article 81 of the Namibian Constitution, which gives the Supreme Court the right to reconsider its previous decision. Itula was quoted as saying this week in New Era that the court chose to grant no remedy for the gross breach of the constitution and the act it has found.
“The result is that the Supreme Court, while upholding that the elections were not lawfully conducted, was not prepared to do what other courts would have done: to give victims of the violation a remedy by setting the election aside and ordering a re-run. I know that very many Namibians feel an injustice has been done,” Itula said.