WINDHOEK: The leadership of the ruling Swapo-Party on Thursday expressed satisfaction with the dismissal of a Supreme Court appeal application by nine opposition political parties who were challenging the outcome and results of the 2009 National Assembly elections.
Swapo-Party Secretary-General Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana told local journalists at the Windhoek Supreme Court building shortly after the dismissal of the case that the nine opposition political parties had “no case to present before this court”.
“I am happy that the Supreme Court just upheld the position of the Swapo-Party that nothing untrue was done or committed by the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) and the ruling party during the November 2009 National Assembly elections.
The nine opposition political parties had no case to present before this court. The opposition parties have no facts on which to base their allegations. This was just a waste of money and time by the opposition political parties”, charged the Swapo-Party leader.
Iivula-Ithana highly commended and applauded the independence and neutrality of the country’s judiciary system when it dealt with this case.
“In future, Namibia’s opposition political parties must avoid similar challenges and accept defeats”, she advised.
Another Swapo-Party leader, Minister of Presidential Affairs in the Office of the Presidency, Dr. Albert Kawana echoed similar sentiments.
Meanwhile, the president of the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA) of Namibia, Katuutire Kaura said “no opposition political party or parties in Namibia would be able to win a case in court against a ruling party”.
The opposition’s appeal case was dismissed today in a judgement delivered by Chief Justice Peter Shivute with costs, in which both the appellants and the respondents were ordered to foot the legal bills of each others’ lawyers and instructing attorneys.
The non-compliance by the lawyers of the nine opposition political parties with the prescribed requirements and rules regarding the filing of the papers and related records before the Supreme Court was one of the main contributing factors for the dismissal of the case.
“The appellants already took a decision to challenge the validity of the results and outcome of the November 2009 National Assembly elections way back in December 2009. However, they failed to file their papers before the Registrar of the Supreme Court within a period of 30 days as per prescribed of the rules and orders of this court.
The appellants had enough time to file their papers before court on time. The appellants did also not give a satisfactory explanation in court for their failure to file their amplified papers within a period of 30 days as prescribed by the rules and orders of the Supreme Court”, said the chief justice.
The court also found that most of the complaints made by the opposition political parties with regards to the number of ballot boxes and ballot papers, the counting of the votes and the posting of the results outside the polling stations and verification centres were based on hearsay provided by unreliable sources.
“This court cannot entertain arguments based on hearsay. As a result, these complaints by the appellants are being rejected by the court”, noted Shivute.
In general, the court accepted the allegations and complaints by opposition political parties on discrepancies and irregularities committed (done) by the officials of Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) during the election process.
“The election as a whole was conducted as per provisions and in compliance with the country’s Electoral Act. The strict security measures provided by members of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) at the time leaves no room for fraud and ballot boxes stuffing as the appellants alleged”, explained the chief justice.
He continued: “The various administrative mistakes committed by the ECN officials and polling officers were not so serious. Therefore, the results and outcome of the November 2009 National Assembly (NA) elections were not affected at all by these administrative mistakes.
In the result, the appeal application case by the nine opposition political parties is dismissed with legal costs to be shared by both the appellants and the respondents”, Justice Shivute said.
The dismissed appeal challenge to the election was pursued by the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), United Democratic Front of Namibia (UDF), Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA), Congress of Democrats (CoD), Republican Party, All People’s Party (APP), National Unity Democratic Organisation (NUDO), Namibia Democratic Movement for Change (NDMC), Republican Party (RP) and the Democratic Party of Namibia (DPN).
The ECN and the Swapo-Party were defending the appeal challenge.
Chief Justice Shivute, Justices Gerhardt Maritz, Fred Chomba, Simpson Mtambanengwe and Sylvester Mainga presided over the appeal application case.
The nine political parties were appellants, while the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) and the ruling Swapo-Party were the respondents.
Advocates Reinhard Totemeyer and Andrew Corbett represented the nine opposition political parties.
South African Senior Counsel (SC) Vincent Maleka and Windhoek-based lawyer Sisa Namandje represented the ECN.
Another South African Senior Counsel, Ishmael Semenya, and Dr.Sackey Akweenda represented the ruling Swapo-Party.
The nine opposition political parties’ legal challenge over the election was first dismissed by High Court Judge-President Petrus Damaseb and Judge Collins Parker on technical grounds, relating to the late filing of the parties’ case with the High Court on 04 March 2010.
The Supreme Court just also confirmed an earlier ruling handed down by the two judges in the High Court on 04 March 2010.