ECN appeals PDM list ruling

Andrew Kathindi

The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) has on Tuesday appealed the High Court’s ruling on the amendment of the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) parliamentary list.

This comes after ECN boss Theo Mujoro previously told Windhoek Observer that the commission did nothing wrong.

Government Attorney, Mati Asino, who represents the ECN, confirmed the decision to appeal the ruling.

“Our client gave us instructions to appeal because they strongly feel that they have good prospect of success. We are not just appealing for the sake of appealing, there’s good reason why, and those will be presented in court,” he told the Windhoek Observer.

This comes after a High Court ruling which required that PDM members Charmaine Tjirare, Reggie Diergaardt, Frans Bertolini, Yvette Araes, Mike Venaani and Tjekupe Maximilliant Katjimune be sworn in as the legitimate members of parliament for the opposition political party and further ordered a public gazette to be published to that effect.

“ECN would not publish this gazette in light of the appeal. What is the sense of publishing something, then the Supreme Court comes and overturns it again? So, the notice of appeal suspends the order of the High Court, until it is decided by the Supreme Court,” Asino said.

PDM Secretary General Manuel Ngaringombe also revealed that the opposition party had also appealed the High Court’s ruling.

“We as PDM have appealed, as we feel the judge was not well informed. The way he made his judgement was one-centered. He did not look at both arguments.”

The official opposition SG further stated that “We trust that the Supreme Court will do its best to bring the judgement as pre our argument.”

While the Court Order no longer recognized Esmeralda !Aebes, Johannes Martin, Kazeongere Tjeundo, Geoffrey Mwilima, Timotheus Shihumbu and Pieter Mostert as Parliamentarians, the appeal is expected to drag the case further on.

Lawyer Norman Tjombe who represents Tjirare and Hamata said he was concerned that as the appeal may only be heard towards the end of next year, or the year after that because there are many other cases to be heard.

“In terms of the current law, when an appeal is noted, the Court Order is suspended. However, our instructions are to seek an expedited hearing of the appeal, as the country cannot afford to have an improperly constituted National Assembly, and it will be good if the Supreme Court, as the highest court of the land, have a final say on this matter,” Tjombe said.

He further noted, “Needless to say, PDM has no prospects of success in the appeal, and its appeal will no doubt be dismissed. It only runs the risks of escalating costs against itself. But then again, PDM, like any litigating party, has the right to approach the appropriate courts to ventilate its stance.”

The second session of Parliament is scheduled to resume on 8 September.

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