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PDM forges ahead with Supreme Court appeal 

2020-10-29  Maria Amakali

PDM forges ahead with Supreme Court appeal 
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Leader of the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) McHenry Venaani says the party will continue as planned to appeal the Electoral Court’s ruling on the Electoral Commission of Namibia’s decision to amend its party list of officials that were sworn in the National Assembly in March this year. 

“PDM’s position remains the same. Unless the Supreme Court makes an anterior determination, our legitimate members of parliament are currently serving in parliament and are doing a stellar job for the democracy of our republic,” said Venaani. 
Venaani was responding to queries after Norman Tjombe, lawyer to Charmaine Tjirare and Hidipo Hamata wrote a letter to the National Assembly and ECN demanding that his clients be gazetted as duly elected members of the National Assembly with effect from 20 March, as directed by the Electoral Court. 

However, Venaani said the party and its legal team were not aware of the letter and that the appeal process was ongoing. 
“There is an appeal process going on and that is where we are going to litigate not on the street and in the media. We are not interested in influencing the legal process and outcome of the appeal through the media. Sound legal arguments must prevail at the point of moving the appeal in the Supreme Court,” said Venaani. According to Tjombe, ECN and PDM failed to appeal against the Electoral Court judgment in the Supreme Court.  Tjombe explained ECN and PDM were supposed to file an appeal within three months of the date of the judgment or order appealed against - with the last date being 12 October.

“As a result of the failure or neglect to file the record of the appeal, the appeal is deemed to have been withdrawn as provided for by the Rules of the Supreme Court,” said Tjombe.
He further added those who currently serve as PDM members of parliament must immediately vacate their seats in the National Assembly or the speaker of the National Assembly must terminate their membership.

In July, Deputy Judge President Hosea Angula together with judges Shafimana Ueitele and Thomas Masuku upheld an urgent application that Tjirare and Hamata lodged after amendments were made to the original list compiled after the electoral college of the party. According to the judges, the actions of PDM, endorsed by the Electoral Commission of Namibia, of removing names of persons who had been voted for by voters in a secret ballot pursuant to a free election, and gazetted in term of the law and replacing them with persons nominated by PDM is contrary to the letter of the law and the spirit of the country’s constitution. The court declared the action of the PDM to swear in Esme !Aebes, Johannes Martin, Kazeongere Tjeundo, Geoffrey Mwilima, Sadney Ndumbah and Peter Mostert as unconstitutional, null and void. The court further ordered the chairperson of the ECN to make a declaration that Frans Bertolini, Tjirare, Yvette Araes, Maximiliant Katjimune, Raymond Reginald Diergaardt and Mike Rapuika Venaani are duly elected members of the National Assembly as from 20 March. Efforts to get a comment from ECN proved futile yesterday. –

2020-10-29  Maria Amakali

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