Namibia opposition rejects election outcome

Namibian opposition parties Friday rejected the results of last week’s elections, as President Hifikepunye Pohamba looked set for a three-fourths majority with almost all the votes counted.

Eight of the 13 opposition parties that contested the legislative and presidential elections said they would file a court case to challenge the results, with the final outcome expected later Friday.

“Our eight parties will not accept the election results as the elections were conducted in contravention of the law,” a joint statement said.

“Accepting this supposed elections outcome will be tantamount to undermining democracy in Namibia.”

The parties had instructed their legal teams to institute proceedings against the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) “for contravening the electoral law of the country,” they said.

The parties have complained about the slow pace of ballot counting from the polls held last Friday and Saturday, and say they were not adequately informed about the vote verification process.

Pohamba and his ruling South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO), in power since independence in 1990, faced down a challenge from the breakaway Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP).

The splinter party’s leader Hidipo Hamutenya, a former foreign minister, had hoped to tap into discontent with SWAPO and vowed to crack down on corruption, but he looked set to win only about 11 percent of the vote.

“We have jointly collected sufficient evidence of contraventions of the electoral law and our lawyers said this would be sufficient for a court case,” RDP spokesman Libolly Haufiku told AFP.

African observers of the elections have pronounced them free and fair, while recommending that Namibia take steps to speed up the counting process and free up access to the media for all parties.


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