High Court could dismiss opposition party’s urgent application

WINDHOEK; The opposition party’s urgent application to postpone the 2014 Presidential and National Assembly elections could be dismissed because some of the respondents were not served with court summonses.

The Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), African Labour and Human Rights Centre and its Director August Maletzky, and the President of the Workers Revolutionary Party Hewat Beukes launched an urgent application in the High Court on Monday, calling for the postponement of the general elections to February 2015.

The RDP and the three other litigants claimed that it is unconstitutional to use Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) for elections without a paper trail.

The application was heard before Judge Christi Liebenberg in the Windhoek High Court here on Tuesday.

Windhoek lawyer Sisa Namandje, who represented the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) and the Namibian Government as the first and second respondents respectively, said the application should be annulled because not all respondents were served with summonses to appear in court on Tuesday, hence their absence from court.

He however said the court challenge is a special matter because of the upcoming Presidential and National Assembly elections on 28 November 2014.

“We cannot be held hostage because a careless litigant came to court with their papers in shambles,” he said.

Namandje also added that the court could be in a dilemma due to an uncertainty on whether or not to postpone the elections.

Maletzky, who represented the four applicants, said the political parties that had not been served had forfeited their right to be served because their offices were closed during the normal working hours (08h00 to 17h00).

He argued that public policy dictates that the doors of public offices must not be closed doors during normal working hours.

Beukes said he was of the impression that all the parties had been served with notices, because he was not successful in collecting any of the papers that were not served.

Namandje said the applicants should be given a fair opportunity to air their grievances, even though all the respondents were not served nor present in court.

The matter was then postponed to 11h30 today for the applicants to get their papers in order.

The court will also hear arguments calling for the nullification of the by-elections and other elections where the EVMs were used this year.