PDM Parliament hopefuls to approach court…as Parliament is set to open

Andrew Kathindi

With Parliament set to open in just over a week’s time, Lawyer Norman Tjombe has threatened to approach the courts to have his clients’ gazetted as Members of Parliament.

This comes after a High Court ruling, delivered in July last year, ordered that Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) members Charmaine Tjirare, Reggie Diergaardt, Frans Bertolini, Yvette Araes, Mike Venaani and Tjekupe Maximilliant Katjimune be added to the opposition party parliamentary list, an order which is yet to be implemented.

The High Court ruling had further ordered that a public gazette be published in that regard.

“As a result of the National Assembly not having sworn in the rightful candidates, and the ECN has not published an amended list of names of persons to be sworn in, we will again approach the Court for appropriate relief. It is an unacceptable situation that the composition of the National Assembly remains unconstitutional and unlawful, and the rectification is of utmost importance,” Tjombe said.

Both ECN and PDM had last year gave indication that they would approach the Supreme Court to appeal the High Court ruling. This was however not done, with Government Attorney, Mati Asino stating that PDM may have to concede to the High Court’s ruling after Theunissen, Louw & Partners, who represent the current PDM parliamentarians Esmeralda !Aebes, Johannes Martin, Kazeongere Tjeundo, Geoffrey Mwilima, Timotheus Shihumbu and Pieter Mostert, did not file their appeal on time.

“I don’t know what their lawyers were waiting to do. The rules are very clear, you have three months to file your appeal, if you don’t file, it will lapse. I don’t know which argument they will bring. Because of COVID, because of lockdown, maybe there’s something that they can bring.”

ECN boss Theo Mujoro previously washed his hands off the matter, hinting that PDM would have to sort it out internally.

Mujoro did not respond to questions sent by the Windhoek Observer on whether the Electoral Commission had gazetted the names in line with the High Court ruling.

National Assembly spokesperson David Nahogandja told the Windhoek Observer that parliament would need to receive the gazetted names from ECN before they could swear in the PDM members.

“Yes, I confirm that we received the letter from Mr Tjombe. However, the process of swearing-in members only takes place once the National Assembly received the gazetted names from ECN. So far, we have not received any new gazetted names. We advise that you contact ECN on that matter.”

Parliament opens for the 2021 calendar year on 9 February.

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