UPM president approaches court to challenge removal from Parliament

Hertta-maria Amutenja

The President of the United People’s Movement (UPM), Jan Johannes van Wyk, has filed an urgent application at the Windhoek High Court, challenging his abrupt withdrawal from the National Assembly (NA) earlier this month.

According to the founding affidavit, Van Wyk seeks redress for what he claims to be an unconstitutional and invalid decision by the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM).

Van Wyk and Frans Bertolini were in Parliament on the ticket of the PDM. They were however removed after forming an alliance with Independent Presidential Candidate, Ally Angula.

The two former members of Parliament were then replaced by the PDM’s Loide Iipinge and Katrina Benz.

Van Wyk is now seeking an order to condone non-compliance with procedural requirements and to declare their withdrawal unconstitutional.

Additionally, Van Wyk aims to annul the swearing-in of members who replaced them and secure the immediate reinstatement of UPM’s representation in Parliament.

In response to the urgent application, the PDM has raised objections on two main grounds.

Firstly, the party argues that the UPM failed to adequately justify the need for urgent court intervention regarding their removal from the NA. Secondly, they contend that the relief sought by the UPM may become irrelevant with the upcoming National Election scheduled for November 2024.

“There are two key requirements for establishing urgency. Firstly, the applicant must clearly outline the circumstances which necessitate an urgent hearing. Secondly, the applicant must set out the reasons as to why similar relief will not be obtained at a hearing in due course,” retaliated the PDM.

The UPM, however, asserted the urgency of the matter, emphasising the critical importance of its representation in the legislating house.

The party argued that their absence not only violates democratic principles but also deprives their constituents of rightful representation.

“This fact equally ties in with the second leg of urgency, namely that Applicants will not receive substantial redress because of being unable to represent their constituency during the National Assembly session,” argued the UPM.

Furthermore, the UPM stresses that the upcoming general elections will render their quest for redress futile if not addressed urgently. They contend that the relief sought, including the reinstatement of their seats in the NA, may become moot once the current assembly is replaced by the newly elected members.

Moving to the merits of the case, the UPM seeks a declaratory order declaring the decision of the PDM to withdraw them from the National Assembly as unlawful. They argue that while the PDM may have invoked Article 48(1)(a) of the Constitution, the circumstances outlined in Article 47 do not apply to them. Moreover, as members of the UPM and not the PDM, asserting that the PDM lacked the authority to withdraw them from the National Assembly.

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