ECN sued over Article 47

Kazeongere Tjeundo has asked the court to relax or set aside the ECN directive, which he described as “repressive and irrational”.

13 November 2019 | Local News

Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) Opuwo regional councillor Kazeongere Tjeundo has launched a court bid to be placed back on the party's candidate list for the National Assembly election, after the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) enforced Article 47 of the Namibia Constitution against candidates who hold certain public positions.

Among those affected are civil servants, National Council members and local and regional councillors. Tjeundo fought in the High Court yesterday to hear his application heard on an urgent basis, ahead of special voting today.

He said he wants to participate as a National Assembly candidate in the 27 November general election without being coerced into sacrificing his career until he is elected.

He has asked the court to relax or set aside the ECN directive, which he described as “repressive and irrational”, and order that candidates may retain their jobs until they are elected and take up their positions.

This has far-reaching implications for candidates across the political spectrum who have either resigned or were removed from party lists.

Arguments on whether the matter is urgent or not were herad by Acting Judge Orben Sibeya yesterday afternoon.



Absurd

In his founding affidavit Tjeundo argued that the ECN's flawed interpretation of the law creates unnecessary unemployment risks for eligible public service candidates.

“This is an onerous and unnecessary public interest liability or burden on a public servant such as myself, who is not yet elected and who desires to participate in the political process, irrespective of what the unpredictable outcome might be.”

He further argued that a spot on the candidate list is no guarantee of a position in parliament.

Being forced to resign, as a public servant, “creates an absurdity in that it penalises a citizen of Namibia”, he said. He said “all other citizens in all other vocations who equally qualify” to be candidates are not subjected to this treatment and it thus constitutes unfair discrimination.

Tjeundo argued the ECN essentially “coerces a candidate such as myself into resignation under duress”, while violating their constitutional rights.

He said the ECN's interpretation and directive is flawed, and “essentially a denial of a public servant candidate's right to pursue political activity without placing into jeopardy their careers as public servants.”

He added the directive, in terms of Section 77 of the Electoral Act of 2014, undermines the right of parties to put forward the candidates of their choice.

Unfair

Tjeundo said the PDM's decision to withdraw his candidacy on 23 October, was due to “undue influence” and further stressed that the directive was “contrary to the practice since independence.”

He underlined that despite a joint paper submitted by parties following the directive, expressing their disagreement with the ECN directive, the ECN failed to “properly reconsider its position and persisted in implementing [the section]”.

The ECN is opposing the application. In a responding affidavit, chief electoral officer Theophilus Mujoro argued that apart from questions around lack of jurisdiction and locus standi, the urgent application had no merit, and Tjeundo approached the High Court too late, without a valid reason.

He argued the case was lodged on 8 November, and set down to be heard a day before Namibian citizens in foreign countries and law-enforcement and defence force members were scheduled to cast their votes. Tjeundo, however, argued that following the 3 October release of the ECN decree, and the later directive, he first consulted with the ECN, and then sought legal advice.

“I have not caused my own urgency nor have I delayed in bringing this matter before court.”

Mujoro argued that political parties were notified on 3 October about the directive, with the position of the ECN set out clearly at that time, giving Tjeundo time to lodge his case earlier.

Mujoro added that Tjeundo's demands are not in line with the country's law and constitutional provisions governing elections and the eligibility of candidates.

Instead, Mujoro accused Tjeundo of acting in his own personal interest, not in that of the public's interest, and that he “intends to frustrate the elections being conducted by the ECN”.

Sibeya late yesterday afternoon dismissed the application because of lack of jurisdiction, saying he would deliver reasons on or before 22 November. The ECN had argued that the matter should be heard by the electoral court.

JANA-MARI SMITH

Similar News

 

Aanamapya taya galikanene omvula

2 days ago - 06 December 2019 | Local News

Omukokele gwomoshitopolwa shaKavango East okwa popi kutya okwa tegelela nomukumo omuloka omuwanawa opo a vule okutameka iilonga mepya lye molwaashoka okwa hala okuhulitha po onkalo...

Fishermen protest over Fishrot

3 days ago - 05 December 2019 | Local News

Around 300 fishermen gathered outside the Kuisebmond Stadium in Walvis Bay this week to protest against bail being granted to former cabinet ministers Bernhard Esau...

Omahogololo gelelo lyaShakati ga kalekwa

3 days ago - 05 December 2019 | Local News

Omahogololo ngoa oga kalekwa omanga aakuthimbinga yaadhika ya gongala nale pehala mpoka pwa li pe na okuningilwa omahogololo ngoka.Ngoka ta longo pehala lyomunambelewa omukuluntu...

Aaniilonga yomomeya ya ningi ekanka

3 days ago - 05 December 2019 | Local News

Konyala aaniilonga yomomeya ya thika po 300 oya ningi ekanka pondje yokapale kaKuisebmond mOmbaye, ye li ompinge negandjo lyomboloha koominista nale Bernhardt Esau oshowo Sakeus...

Swapo trio out in the cold

4 days ago - 04 December 2019 | Local News

STAFF REPORTER At least three Swapo members who had tendered their resignations - or were legally obliged to do so in pursuit of seats in...

Ondholongo yaLuno yuudha noonkondo

4 days ago - 04 December 2019 | Local News

Oshikondo shoNamibian Correctional Service (NCS) momwedhi gwa piti osha lundululile aanadholongo 150 okuza mOluno Correctional Facility moshitopolwa shaShana komandiki galwe goodholongo miitopolwa iyali yaKavango.Shoka...

Oshana otashi tsikile nokumona omuloka guli nawa

4 days ago - 04 December 2019 | Local News

Shika oshikando oshititatu iitopolwa yomonooli tayi lokwa nawa nomahala ogendji ngoka haga kala nomeya unene moshitopolwa shaShana oguudha nale omeya, omanga iitopolwa yimwe inaya lokwa...

150 inmates moved to ease overcrowding

5 days ago - 03 December 2019 | Local News

The Namibian Correctional Service (NCS) has transferred 150 inmates from the Oluno Correctional Facility in Oshana to three correctional facilities in the two Kavango regions.The...

It wasn't war - Geingob

5 days ago - 03 December 2019 | Local News

President Hage Geingob, whose popularity waned by 31% from his 87% in the 2014 general election to 56% in the just-ended 2019 poll, has admitted...

Geingob otaka hupitha oolye?

5 days ago - 03 December 2019 | Local News

OMUTOOLINKUNDANA GWOMENISho oominista oshowo aapevi minista 13 ya gumo momusholondondo gwiilyo yOmutumba gwoPaliamende shoSwapo e shi pondola owala okumona iipundi 63 moPaliamende, Omupresidende Hage Geingob...

Latest News

Creating a digital mindset for...

2 days ago - 06 December 2019 | Opinion

Jason AverbookDo you ever look back on your New Year’s resolutions (if you make them)? Do you even remember what they were? Maybe you resolve...

Article 47 bites back at...

2 days ago - 06 December 2019 | Politics

The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) has approached attorney-general Albert Kawana for legal advice on how to deal with the situation arising from its enforcement...

Retrenched fishermen narrate ordeal

2 days ago - 06 December 2019 | Fishing

“My car was repossessed by the bank as I could no longer honour my payment obligations,” Sylvester Mbadi, a former employee of Namsov, has told...

Economic misery fuels suicides

2 days ago - 06 December 2019 | Health

Close to 400 people died by suicide between January and September 2019 and experts warn that Namibia's economic crisis, lack of jobs and the crippling...

Highly mechanised

2 days ago - 06 December 2019 | People

Justicia Shipena Vivacious Marco Swart is a mechanical technician in the packaging engineering department at Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL) - a subsidiary of the Ohlthaver...

Compassion is the new fashion

2 days ago - 06 December 2019 | People

Evany van WykMarizelle Pienaar lives by the motto, “the more you have to do, the more you get done.” She believes in being a balanced...

Never say never

2 days ago - 06 December 2019 | People

Mariselle StofbergHester Uushona is a firm believer that being average in life is not an option. She strives towards making her mark while providing others...

Not all with be festive

2 days ago - 06 December 2019 | Columns

As the festive season approaches in full-force, many are yearning to spend time with their loved ones away from the stress work and the accompanying...

Talent knows no borders

2 days ago - 06 December 2019 | Cultural

Ester Kamati Still digesting the news after receiving his award on 30 November in Burkina Faso, Visagie is passionate about ensuring that the arts are...

Load More