WINDHOEK - Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) said yesterday that it will forge ahead with the Presidential and National Assembly elections slated for 27 November despite the refusal of opposition parties to sign the code of conduct yesterday.
Only the ruling Swapo Party and Martin Lukato’s National Democratic Party (NDP) signed the code of conduct, which binds them to a commitment that will reinforce a culture of tolerance towards the contesting candidates and political parties. According to the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), chaos broke out yesterday at Windhoek Country Club where the Code of Conduct of Political Parties was supposed to be signed, when presidential independent candidate Dr Panduleni Itula and other opposition leaders refused to sign the code.
Rally for Democracy Party (RDP) president Mike Kavekotora said the reason they refused to sign the code of conduct was because they had agreed with the ECN that it had not been honoured. He questioned “illegal centres” during verification that he claimed would be exclusively only open to ECN and Swapo officials. He said this was the bone of contention yesterday.
“We agreed with Mujoro (ECN boss) that all political parties will be allowed in all verification centres, including the central one that is only reserved for ECN and Swapo official members but to date Mujoro has not given us any guarantee that it will happen. This is the reason why our party did not sign,” he said.
Outspoken secretary-general of the National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo) Joseph Kauandenge shared the same sentiments as Kavekotora, saying there was an agreement with ECN that all political parties would be allowed into the final collation or verification centre at the ECN head office.
“During our last meeting with ECN we agreed that opposition parties will be allowed in the verification centre and a letter will be sent in that regard but up until now we have not received anything from ECN, and for this reason we will not sign anything with ECN,” Kauandenge said.
Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) executive director Graham Hopwood said the code of conduct
should be gazetted and any party that fails to comply with it can be deregistered (Electoral Act 152 (c)) – so those refusing to sign run the risk of being barred from taking part in the election.
However, he said the most sensible course of action would be for the ECN to institute talks with the parties and the candidates to find an amicable solution.
“It is important for the parties to support the code as it is crucial for holding free, fair and peaceful elections,” he said.
ECN chief electoral officer Theo Mujoro and chairperson Notemba Tjipueja were not immediately available for comment at the time of going to print yesterday.
However, an ECN commissioner who requested anonymity indicated that the electoral body would forge ahead with the elections.
2019-10-30 07:31:11 | 9 months ago