Poll verdict on ThursdayBy: WERNER MENGES
THE Supreme Court’s judgement on opposition parties’ attempts to have Namibia’s 2009 National Assembly election set aside or get a recount of votes cast in the election will be delivered on Thursday next week.
The office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court announced yesterday that the court’s judgement will be handed down on Thursday.
The judgement has been awaited since October 5 last year, which was when five judges of the court reserved their judgement after having heard three days of oral arguments on the opposition parties’ appeal against a High Court decision in which their legal challenge of the conduct and outcome of the elections was dismissed.
In the High Court, Judge President Petrus Damaseb and Judge Collins Parker ruled that the evidence before them did not prove any of the opposition parties’ complaints that the election was marred by irregularities that opened the way for large-scale rigging and ballot box stuffing to take place.
The ECN and its officials were guilty of some lapses, mainly centred on confusion about the voters’ register used in the election, though, the court found.
In their joint judgement the two judges made a remark that while the parties were claiming that more people had voted in the election than were registered on the voters’ roll, the parties could not produce any physical evidence or eyewitness account that any stuffing of ballot boxes in favour of any party that took part in the election had taken place.
With the hearing of the appeal it was argued on behalf of the opposition parties that the grounds on which they want the court to set aside the election are claims that election results were not posted at several polling stations as required by the Electoral Act, that the results which were announced came from verification centres instead of polling stations, that 16 537 ballot counterfoils which did not have voter registration numbers on them – something required to prevent the possibility of ballot box stuffing – were discovered by the parties, and that in numerous locations it was found that the number of ballot papers delivered to polling stations did not match the number later counted after the election.
It was argued on behalf of the Electoral Commission of Namibia and the Swapo Party, though, that these complaints had been considered in the High Court and had been correctly rejected as unproven.
According to the results announced by the Electoral Commission, Swapo won the election with a little over 75 per cent of the votes cast.
The parties which pursued their election challenge to the Supreme Court are the Rally for Democracy and Progress, United Democratic Front of Namibia, National Unity Democratic Organisation, Democratic Turnhalle Alliance, Congress of Democrats, All People’s Party, Republican Party, and Democratic Party of Namibia.
The appeal was heard by Chief Justice Shivute, Judges of Appeal Gerhard Maritz and Sylvester Mainga, and Acting Judges of Appeal Simpson Mtambanengwe and Fred Chomba.