Itula returns to Supreme Court

12 February 2020 | Politics

Former independent presidential candidate Panduleni Itula is returning to the Supreme Court for an urgent application to review a decision by the highest court in the land not to nullify the 2019 presidential election results.

Last year Itula challenged the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the presidential poll without a verifiable paper trail, and wanted the Supreme Court to nullify the results and order a rerun.

After hearing the matter in January, the court last week ruled that the use of EVMs during the November 2019 presidential election was unconstitutional, but said no evidence was placed before it to suggest that this affected the overall outcome of the election. Itula's lawyers Angula Incorporated filed a new application at the Supreme Court in terms of Article 81 of the Namibian Constitution to demand that the judgment be reviewed.

Article 81 provides for a reversal of a decision of the Supreme Court by itself.



Itula's latest petition comes at a time when Namibians are divided on last week's Supreme Court ruling.

Constitutional expert professor Nico Horn responded to the ruling by saying the nullification of the November 2019 elections would have been the logical step.

“One would expect the court to nullify the results based on the fact that there is no paper trail and no way to verify the results.”

Political analyst Henning Melber said yesterday that while it is Itula's right to return to the Supreme Court, he thinks the court made the right decision under the circumstances.

“Dr Itula should have gotten his act together latest in September, when he knew he would enter the presidential elections. He then would have been able to prevent elections using EVMs without paper trail, as the Supreme Court ruling confirms.

“I see no way how the presidential election could be repeated but not the National Assembly election for the very same flaws. It also points to an omission: The Supreme Court could have been approached for the same omission in both elections, but then much earlier. I am convinced the ruling would have then prevented the use EVMs without paper trail,” he said.

Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani said they are studying the new development “very carefully”.

“The dangerous path is that you had a full bench. It is not as straightforward case - if there was a split judgement, then one could have seen some opportunity for a different review. We have to clinically review the papers and underscore page by page what our position will be,” he said.

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