Leader of Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) McHenry Venaani yesterday said the party’s top leadership resolved to appeal the judgement of three judges of the electoral court to remove six of its current parliamentarians and replace them with another six that were on the gazetted list before the November 2019 elections.
Deputy Judge President Hosea Angula together with judges Shafimana Ueitele and Thomas Masuku upheld an urgent application that Charmaine Tjirare and Hidipo Hamata lodged after they were removed from the party list to make place for officials that were on the original list compiled after the electoral college of the party.
According to the judges, these actions of the 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 party yesterday said the aggrieved persons were not vetted for and elected at the electoral college of the party or its congress, but were on the list merely because of the rule of the ECN that people working for public offices must resign prior to elections to be eligible for election to parliament.
According to Venaani, the judgement was full of flaws and does not give credence to the rule of law.
For instance, Venaani said, the judgement gives the Electoral Act precedence over the constitution, which is the supreme law of the country, saying they will approach the Supreme Court to test that.
He was quick to add that the party respects the court’s decision, however, it was still their prerogative to follow further legal avenues.
According to Venaani, they are confident that the country’s top court will see things their way and allow them to follow their structures.
He further said that this judgement would have dire consequences for political parties, as it will interfere in the political processes of democracy.
“It is not the job of the courts to dictate political parties,” he stressed.
According to Venaani, they were consistent in their objection to the rule of the ECN and made it clear from the onset that the list compiled at the electoral college was the list voted for by the members of the party and everybody abided by it and they thus approached the ECN with clean hands to amend the list accordingly after the elections.
In their judgement, the three judges however castigated ECN for their involvement in the amendment of the list.
“The Electoral Commission of Namibia is an independent body and should, in all is dealings, manifest that independence and impartiality. In the instant case, the commission appeared to take sides and aligned itself with PDM, which it should not have done,” the court stated
They further said that in agreeing to the “entreaties” of PDM in altering or amending the list, the ECN acted outside the powers of its enabling Act and its conduct was therefore unlawful and invalid.
The judges 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.
They further ordered the chairperson of the ECN to make a declaration that Frans Bertolini, Tjirare, Yvette Araes, Tjekupe Maximiliant Katjimune, Raymond Reginald Diergaardt and Mike Rapuika Venaani are duly elected members of the National Assembly as from 20 March 2020.
Mike Rapuika Venaani is the father of party leader McHenry and is also a former National Assembly member, under the then DTA, of which he served as secretary general.
That decision will however be stayed pending the Supreme Court judgment.
The judges made no order as to costs.