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Namibia's polls face legal challenge by opposition

25 November 2014, 17:36

Windhoek - Three opposition parties brought an urgent application before the Windhoek High Court on Tuesday requesting it to postpone Friday’s parliamentary and presidential elections.

"We ask the court to direct the electoral commission to stop the use of electronic voting machines [EVMs] as they do not produce a verifiable paper trail for every vote cast by the voter," the first applicant, August Maletzky, asked Judge Kobus Miller.

"We further ask the court to declare a section of the recently promulgated new elections act, which allows to suspend certain clauses of the new act and to direct the commission to conduct free and fair elections in February 2015," Maletzky added.

Elections are slated for this coming Friday, when 1.24 million eligible voters will elect a new government.

Maletzky argued that the new electoral act was only gazetted on 17 October.


"You cannot do that to the electorate just 29 days before elections on 28 November.

"The new law prescribes that the electronic voting machines from India, which Namibia will use as the first country in Africa, should print a paper receipt after each vote.

"The current EVMs cannot do that, and the specific clause in the new act is currently suspended [transition clause] to allow usage of the ‘old’ EVMs," Maletzky argued on Tuesday.

Maletzky runs the African Labour and Human Rights Centre and prepared the application for the main opposition Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), the Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP), and the recently formed Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters (NEFF) party.

Sisa Namandje who represented the electoral commission and the government asked the judge to dismiss the urgent application as not all of the 18 respondents received the court papers on Monday.

"I reserve judgment until tomorrow [Wednesday] 10 o’clock" Miller said.



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