NAMIBIA: "Democracy has won," says opposition as court orders vote recount
- -----Original Message-----
From: IRIN [mailto:IRIN@...]
Sent: Thursday, March 10, 2005 11:31 AM
To: RE Ausetkmt
Subject: NAMIBIA: "Democracy has won," says opposition as court orders
NAMIBIA: "Democracy has won," says opposition as court orders vote
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United
WINDHOEK, 10 March (IRIN) - Two Namibian opposition parties won a court
ruling on Thursday ordering a recount of the ballots from last year's
Judge President Petrus Damaseb said the recount should start within five
days of the judgement, with the results announced on 20 March - one day
before Namibia's new government is to be sworn in.
He set aside the application by the opposition Congress of Democrats
(CoD) and the Republican Party (RP) to have the polls declared null and
void, but the Electoral Commission, a government body, was ordered to
pay the legal costs of the parties.
"This is a wonderful victory," said Carola Engelbrecht,
secretary-general of the RP. "Democracy has won, and the ruling
indicates that the judiciary is really independent from the executive,"
she told IRIN.
"We now have a lot of work ahead of us, should the recount of some
830,000 votes start on Monday as the High Court ordered," said Tsudao
Gurirab, national chairman of CoD. "There is not much time, if results
are to be announced by 20 March."
Election director Philemon Kanime said the Electoral Commission would
"do as the court said", while Attorney General Pendukeni Ithana, who
attended all the hearings, said she first had to study the four-page
judgement in detail.
"This judgement shows the democratic process is at work, and we will see
if we will appeal," she told IRIN.
Namibia celebrates its 15th independence anniversary on 21 March, when
President Sam Nujoma's elected successor, Hifikepunye Pohamba, and new
cabinet ministers will be sworn in.
Pohamba and the ruling SWAPO party won a landslide victory on 21
November 2004 election, but the opposition alleged the voters' roll was
inflated, and the unusually high turnout of around 85 percent was
"questionable". The discovery of 22 abandoned ballot papers, some of
them half burnt, all cast in favour of opposition parties, was also
seized on as evidence of irregularities.
SWAPO, which led Namibia's struggle against South African colonial rule,
has resoundingly won each election since independence in 1990.
We have sent this message from a no-reply address to avoid bounced
messages into our general email folder. Please do not hesitate to
contact us at Mail@... with any comments or questions you may
Tel: +27 11 895-1900
Fax: +27 11 784-6759
[This Item is Delivered to the "Africa-English" Service of the UN's IRIN
humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views
of the United Nations. For further information, free subscriptions, or
to change your keywords, contact e-mail: IRIN@... or Web:
http://www.irinnews.org . If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post
this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Reposting by
sites requires written IRIN permission.]
Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
No virus found in this outgoing message.
Checked by AVG Anti-Virus.
Version: 7.0.308 / Virus Database: 266.6.2 - Release Date: 3/4/2005