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NEFF out, AR in – News

Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters (NEFF) deputy leader Longinus Iipumbu yesterday said the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) will review its decision to deregister the party.

NEFF and Christian Democratic Voice (CDV) were deregistered as political parties for failing to submit their financial statements, a move that could benefit the ruling party in the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections in November.

PROCEDURES

Lawyer Nafimane Halweendo told The Namibian yesterday that the ECN should have questioned the parties about their non-appearances and given them prior notice before taking the decision to deregister them.

He said the parties should have been given the opportunity to submit their submissions within a specified time and only after that should they have been notified that they would be deregistered, with reasons provided.

Iipumbu said this was not done.

Halweendo said that all reasons should have been expressly stated to the affected political parties.

“If the electoral commission does not follow the process established by law, then a disgruntled political party is more than willing to take the matter to court,” he added.

NEFF, through its lawyers Kadhila Amoomo Legal Practitioners, on Tuesday demanded that the ECN withdraw the deregistration or face legal action.

The ECN confirmed on Monday afternoon that NEFF and CDV are no longer registered as political parties due to their failure to submit their financial statements.

“We are instructed to inform you that your decision is erroneous as it is irrational and unreasonable,” NEFF’s lawyer wrote to ECN.

Amoomo demanded that ECN director Peter Shaama meet the June 30 deadline given to NEFF.

“It is in this context that we are directed to demand, as we hereby do, that we undertake that the decision will not be implemented pending its review in the Electoral Tribunal of Namibia,” Amoomo wrote.

In a letter to Iipumbu, written on April 24, Shaama told the NEFF deputy leader to submit his statements and evidence of publication in local newspapers by June 30.

Rui Tyitende

RESPONSIBILITY

Political analyst Rui Tyitende said that if parties violated the law, then the ECN acted within the scope of its mandate.

“Political parties must know and understand that they are managing public funds and must be accountable for every dollar.

“Accountability and transparency are essential if one is perceived as an alternative to the status quo,” he said.

NEFF member Michael Amushelolo posted on his social media yesterday that the deregistration of the party is politically motivated.

He said NEFF’s deregistration was retaliation after NEFF exposed corruption in the ECN recruitment process last month.
“We have it on good authority that this infuriated ECN’s top bosses.”

Amushelelo said NEFF had submitted all its audited financial reports and was in the process of advertising them in newspapers as required.

Meanwhile, CDV MP Gotthard Kandume declined to comment yesterday, stating that the party had hired lawyers and requested an urgent meeting with the ECN on Friday.

However, Kandume told The Namibian on Monday that the ECN’s decision to deregister the party is a declaration of war.

“We have been sworn in by a Supreme Court judge. Who is ECN to withdraw us from parliament? They have declared war on us, but we will expose their mess.” Kandume also said the Electoral Act stipulates that they have the right to appeal the ECN’s decision.

“This is a small thing. Don’t worry.”

Veikko Nekundi

POLITICAL STRUGGLES

Swapo politburo member and central committee member Nekundi says the ECN’s decision to deregister NEFF means the party is “legally buried”.

Speaking to The Namibian yesterday, Nekundi said “we do not need to waste our energy to bury them democratically on November 27; “They have failed their president miserably in Pretoria.”

Nekundi recently called on the ECN to deregister NEFF after the party rewarded Moses Ndjene for assaulting a Swapo leader in the Mix Settlement in Windhoek.

NEFF gave Ndjene 1,000 Namibian dollars as “recognition” and a show of solidarity, Iipumbu said at the time.

Iipumbu yesterday identified Nekundi as part of the group that fears the growth of NEFF.

It is unfortunate that we did not let it happen, since we have everything necessary and ready before the scheduled date,” he said.

The ECN is expected to respond to the party’s demand letter sooner or tomorrow.

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