No appeals against last year’s elections

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By Mathias Haufiku

WINDHOEK-Deputy Chief Justice Petrus Damaseb, who also serves as the Chairperson of the Electoral Court, says no appeals were made against last November’s general election results, which saw the ruling Swapo Party getting another five-year mandate to govern.

The election saw Swapo’s candidate Dr Hage Geingob winning a resounding 87 percent of the vote.

Sixteen political parties and nine presidential candidates contested last year’s polls, which saw the country becoming the first African state to make use of electronic voting machines.

“Not to my knowledge,” Damaseb said when asked whether the special court had received any application challenging the outcome.

“By the time I went on holiday just before Christmas there were no appeals filed and if there were any, the court staff would have informed me.”

Following the electoral court challenge in 2009, which saw several opposition parties dragging the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) to court in protest regarding the way the said elections were administered, Namibians have been watching to see whether a similar situation would prevail.

The challenge to the November 2009 elections was, however, unique in that the High Court ruled that the case was not properly brought before court.

The applicants – nine of the opposition parties who had taken part in the election – subsequently lodged an appeal to the Supreme Court, contesting the legality of the elections.

The disgruntled parties at the time complained about irregularities, which, they alleged, were pervasive in the run-up to, during and after the election.

The alleged that there had been a lack of transparency and accountability in the election process, statutory non-compliance in the verification process and resultant undue returns and results.

Due to the 2009 challenge, government even went as far as amending the Electoral Act to avoid electoral challenge as well as to make the country’s electoral system more efficient.

Electoral Tribunals were established to adjudicate and decide on matters that might arise before polling day such as the inclusion or omission of names on the provisional voters register, the conduct of registered parties and their office-bearers, the conduct of electoral officials and any electoral irregularities.

An Electoral Court was also set up to hear and determine appeals against decisions of electoral tribunals and to decide on any matter relating to contravention of the Electoral Act. The court can also hear and determine appeals against decisions of ECN, as well as review ECN matters relating to electoral issues.

The Electoral Court must conclusively determine all post-election matters seven days before the swearing in of the office-bearer concerned.

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