The matter in which a chief magistrate, an Electoral Commission of Namibia regional coordinator, and the urban and rural development minister want to nullify the 2021 elections of the //Kharas Regional Council’s management committee, will only be heard next year.
High Court Judge Esi Schimming-Chase said the court will be available to hear the matter on 23 January 2023.
Chief magistrate Philanda Christiaan, ECN’s Augustinus Ucham and minister Erastus Uutoni want the court to review and set aside the elections of the management committee and National Council members of the //Kharas Regional Council held on 2 December 2020.
They further seek an order directing the election processes to start afresh.
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 business. 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 submitted that 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 amounted to a nullity, said Christiaan. Joseph Isaacks, alongside Landless People’s Movement and council members Witbooi and Goeieman, are opposing the application.
They are arguing that the matter at hand is more political than legal. According to their lawyer Gerson Narib, the matter needs to be sorted out in the boardrooms of the //Kharas Regional Council, and by the respective political parties who have seats on the council.
“There is nothing in the Act prohibiting a regional council, after the magistrate presiding over the election has left, to conduct any other business of the regional council. In fact, since the magistrate is not a member of the regional council, it makes sense that he or she should not preside over debates or other business of the council,” argued Narib.
He further said there is no legal basis to nullify the elections when council members were lawfully elected. In addition, neither Christiaan nor the Magistrates Commission have legal standing to bring forth the review application.