Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) has filed an urgent application before the High Court against the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) seeking an order declaring their candidate as one of the candidates for Satellite Ward in the Francistown East Constituency.
The party wants a review of the IEC’s decision made on the September 26 declaring that the party’s candidate Chakalisa Selugwe did not satisfy requirements to be nominated as the local government for the ward therefore refusing his nomination.
According to the umbrella’s court documents, the coalition says its candidate had satisfied the requirements for being nominated as the local government candidate for Satellite Ward in the Francistown East Constituency and hereby nominated as such representing them as a party.
“We seek order reviewing, correcting and setting aside the decision of the returning officer and commission delivered on the 26th of September 2019 at Francistown on the basis that the decision was grossly unreasonable, irrational, unlawful and did not take into account relevant considerations and the evidence furnished to the Returning Officer,” read the paper.
The party wants a review application on grounds that the decision of the returning officer for IEC has serious political implications for the party and cast aspersion on the credibility of the entire electoral process.
According to the party’s secretary Moeti Mohwasa’s supporting affidavit for the application it was not in the public interest to deny a registered political party an opportunity to nominate a candidate as a result of an error of such political party and the fraudulent activities of others.
“The decision complained favors other political parties vying for the Ward as the UDC has been unreasonably denied an opportunity to nominate its candidate despite satisfying all the statutory requirements,” he said.
Mohwasa explained that decision complained of did not only stains a transparent and fair electoral process but also offends against natural justice.
He pointed out that the returning officer failed to afford both the party and candidate a hearing before arriving at this punitive decision, that had the party been allowed to make representations on this matter, it could have easily done so to clarify the matter to the to the IEC officer.
“It is grossly unreasonably and against public policy to deny a political party a right to nominate a candidate to contest in a general election. I state that in a multi-party constitutional democracy such as ours, it is grossly unreasonable and irrational to tamper with the constitutional right of the Applicants to participate in the elections of Satellite South Ward,” he said.
Mohwasa further said the decision complained of violated the candidate’s constitutional right to be voted into political office when the he satisfied all the requirements to be nominated and stand a chance to be voted into political office.
He said even the returning officer exercised her discretion to decline the candidate’s nomination on the basis of a complaint’s letter, that the exercise of such discretion was irrational, injudicious, unreasonable and prejudicial to both the party and the candidate.
The party also wants IEC not to print the voting ballot papers for the ward pending the hearing of the urgent review application promising an interdict if the commission goes ahead with it.
On the other hand IEC has responded to the party that they will oppose the application and that as it stands the printing of voting of ballot papers are at an advanced stage therefore they are not obliged to stop doing so.
UDC is represented by Otto Itumeleng Law Chambers while Michin&Kelly represents IEC.