ECN blesses PDM's MP wish list

After obtaining legal advice, the electoral body has allowed the official opposition to revert to its old party list that had to be changed for last November's election.

31 January 2020 | Politics

The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) has given the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) the green light to replace six of the candidates on its party list gazetted last year.

ECN chief electoral officer Theo Mujoro confirmed this.

In October last year, ECN issued a directive that all politicians employed by the public service or the regional and local councils must resign from their jobs upon accepting nomination for the National Assembly.

Not impressed with his directive, the PDM threatened to drag the ECN to court, claiming that at least 40 of its candidates would be affected, but it eventually gave in and adjusted the list.

Shortly after the election results were announced, the party made a U-turn and claimed the ECN never had a right to make them change the list and that they would stick to the old list.

The ECN did not know how to handle the situation and sought a legal opinion, which has now allowed the six people affected by the ECN directive to be returned to the list.

This means youth leaders Hidipo Hamata and Maximilliant Katjimune will have to take a backseat to the six candidates returning to the party list. Hamata declined to comment on this development.

PDM won 16 National Assembly seats in the November election.

At a press briefing yesterday, PDM secretary-general Manuel Ngaringombe said they were satisfied with the legal advice and firmly believed that the ECN's literal interpretation of Article 46 and 47 of the Namibian constitution was misleading and incorrect.

“Our interpretation is that civil servants or those remunerated by civil services should not be allowed to have dual remuneration as civil servants and political office bearers. Hence, these articles were never meant to prevent civil servants from becoming political office bearers or to let them be unemployed if their political parties did not win enough seats in the National Assembly,” he said.

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