The chief magistrate, an Electoral Commission of Namibia’s regional coordinator and the minister of urban and rural development are in for a long wait after the High Court scheduled to hear their matter in June.
Judge Harald Geier indicated the court would be available on 8 June to hear why chief magistrate Philanda Christiaan, ECN’s Augustinus Ucham and rural development minister Erastus Uutoni want the court to review, set aside and correct the election of the //Kharas Regional Council’s management committee when Joseph Isaacks, chairperson of the //Kharas Regional Council, says the application is based on hearsay.
Geier ordered the parties to file their heads of argument on or before 23 May.
Christiaan, Ucham and Uutoni approached the court seeking for an order setting aside the elections of the management committee and National Council members of the //Kharas Regional Council held on 2 December 2020, and have the processes start afresh.
According to court papers, Christiaan, claims she discovered on 9 April 2021 that there had been irregularities with the election of the region’s leadership.
It is her argument that in terms of the law, management committee members should be elected before the management committee can discuss other businesses.
According to her, magistrate Unchen Konjore, who presided over the elections, should have indicated that no other business could take place in the absence of a fully constituted management committee.
In addition, the said meeting at which Gerrit Witbooi and Anseline Beukes were elected as members of the management committee was not attended by the three Swapo councillors. Christiaan further explained the “Regional Councils’ Act prohibits a management committee member from also serving in the National Council”.
In light of this, the elections of the National Council members amount to a nullity, said Christiaan.
Witbooi and Beukes were subsequently removed as members of the National Council and the two positions for representatives from //Kharas in the NC are now vacant. Isaacks, alongside the Landless People’s Movement and council members Witbooi and Goeieman are opposing the application.
According to Isaacks, Christiaan has no personal knowledge of what transpired during the elections.
He argued Christiaan should have directed the review application, firstly as the chairperson of the //Kharas Regional Council, for any remedy sought and she is not the right person to lodge the application.
Thus, the application should be dismissed with cost, said Isaacks.