Itula leads electoral code of conduct signing walk-out

Opposition parties, alongside independent presidential candidate for the upcoming Presidential and National Assembly elections staged a walk-out at the signing the Electoral Commission of Namibia's electoral code of conduct for political formations.

The walkout was spearheaded by independent presidential candidate and Swapo member Panduleni Itula on Tuesday at the Windhoek Country Club where those participating in the national elections were expected to put pen to paper.

An election code of conduct is a set of rules of behavior for political parties and their supporters relating to their participation in an electoral process, to which parties will ideally voluntarily agree.

Only the ruling party � Swapo � had signed the code of conduct at the time Nampa left the chaotic scene.

Itula, who is a dentist and lawyer by training led the protest on grounds that they had not been fully briefed on the contents of the document.

He said it was an infringement on their rights if they were to sign a document that are not familiar with and a betrayal of those who died for this country.

The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN)'s chief executive officer and referenda officer Theo Mujoro as well as one of ECN's commissioners, Gerson Tjihenuna attempted but failed to silence Itula when the chaos reached spiraled out of control.

Mujoro argued that political parties and the independent candidate should know better and that the code of conduct is nothing new on the political scene.

You cannot coerce us into something that is going to deny the citizens of this country the freedom to participate in political parties, Itula lectured as the ECN bosses looked on.

He continued: You are bound by Article 18 and Article 5 of the Namibian Constitution which obliges you to respect our rights under Chapter 3 of the Namibian Constitution.

Vipuakuje Muharukua of the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) echoed Itula's sentiments.

Muhurukua went a step further to suggest that if opposition parties are not allowed to be part of the entire electoral process and its subsequent verification then Swapo and the ECN must have their elections.

He charged that it is unfair that only representatives of the ruling party can be part of the final verification of election results before they are made public.

This practice, according to him is unfair and creates room for manipulation of election results in favor of the ruling party and its presidential candidate.

On her part, Advocate Notemba Tjipueja, ECN's Chairperson said it was unfortunate that political parties chose to use the signing of the code of conduct to advance their own agenda.

We have done this to address the concerns that they themselves have been raising at the Political Liaison Committee. Their concerns of harassment. Their concerns of intimidation. We have brought this platform to address these concerns. Unfortunately, they have decided to use this as a campaign platform, she said.

Source: Namibia Press Agency