Itula vows to fight on… ‘unlawful process does not result in a lawful outcome’
Dr Panduleni Itula, who stood as an independent presidential candidate last year, has declared, “it is not over yet” following last week’s election challenge Supreme Court judgement.
Itula was the runner up in the November presidential election after receiving 29% of the vote, compared to eventual winner President Hage Geingob, who received 56%. Itula and four other presidential candidates challenged the outcome in the Supreme Court, but failed in their bid to have the elections annulled. However, there was partial victory for the applicants after the court found that the directive of then minister of regional, local government and housing Charles Namoloh to bring into operation the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) without a verifiable paper trail is in conflict with the constitution and thus invalid and set aside.
Following the judgement, Itula declared Geingob as the legitimate head of state. However, in his official statement at the weekend, Itula was singing a different tune and seemingly questioned the Supreme Court judgement. He said although the court ruled that the elections were not legally conducted, it was not prepared to annul the outcome and give victims of the violation a remedy. “The cost of a re-run may be regrettable, but - as the Supreme Court accepted - for that government’s failure must take the blame, not those who have successfully challenged its legitimacy,” Itula said in a statement.
“I know that very many Namibians feel that an injustice has been done. What steps are now to be taken is a matter on which I am urgently seeking advice. Namibians however should know that the struggle for clean, effective, democratic government continues. The darkest hour is before the dawn.” The court, according to Itula, chose in this case to grant no remedy for the gross breach of the constitution and the act it has found. “Why? It has said this is because political parties, and even individual candidates, should have pressed the ECN to do its duty to consult the public about implementing paper trails.” He said the important rule is that an unlawful process does not result in a lawful outcome. “The further principle is also that of a violation of constitutional rights, any remedy the court gives must be effective. What that meant in this case was clear,” he said. “First, where was this point raised by government as a defence to the remedy? The judgment concedes that it was not raised (para 101 of the judgment).”
2020-02-11 07:00:54 | 15 days ago