Infighting over seats ensnares PDM

05 December 2019 | Politics

The Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) is embroiled in a nasty battle over the 16 seats it won in the just-ended National Assembly election.

Disgruntled party members claimed yesterday that the PDM top structure was diverting from the list gazetted by the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) ahead of the general election.

They said the party was now reverting to the original candidate list that was assembled at the PDM electoral college and vetted by the central committee, which would now result in at least four ECN-recognised candidates not making it to parliament. They include firebrand youth leaders Hidipo Hamata and Maximilliant Katjimune.

In October the ECN issued a directive that all politicians employed by the public service, as well as in the national, regional and local councils must resign from their jobs upon being nominated for the National Assembly.

At the time, the PDM threatened to drag the ECN to court, claiming at least 40 of its candidates would be affected.

The party eventually succumbed to the threat and submitted their adjusted list to the commission.

PDM leader McHenry Venaani yesterday told the media they will not be prescribed by the ECN who to field as candidates. While announcing his shadow cabinet yesterday, Venaani emphasised that the party has the prerogative to adjust its National Assembly party list as its sees fits.

According to him. the gazetted list submitted to the ECN is not legal because the candidates were not elected and vetted. Venaani also pointed out that the Section 4 of the Namibian Constitution gives them the discretion to appoint who they want to National Assembly.

Section 4 states that “subject to the requirements pertaining to the qualification of members of the National Assembly, a political party which qualifies for seats shall be free to choose at its own discretion which persons to nominate as members of the National Assembly to fill the said seats”.

“We are not choosing a new list. We are complying with the (original) list that we have submitted to the ECN; the list that was vetted by our central committee. We are not bringing in new people because of undue pressure, as is alleged,” Venaani said.

He added even his own father, who was 26th on the original list, is now 16th, but would not be going to parliament, as he is “a leader of principle”.

“Sometimes there was a conundrum that Hidipo Hamata was left out, but he was at 28 on the original list and now he is number 17 on the amended list. Those that are peddling those lies are doing it deliberately to undermine the progress the PDM has made,” said Venaani.

He added the party has in the meantime written a letter to the ECN.

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