By Staff Reporter
A war of words broke out between the former independent candidate in the presidential race Panduleni Itula’s legal representative Elize Angula and the Office of the Judiciary.
On Wednesday, the judiciary released a statement informing the Windhoek based lawyer that “with reference to the motion filed on 11 February 2020 on behalf of the first applicant (Itula), kindly be advised that the proceedings in Case No A1/2019 have been finalised in that a final and binding judgment has been by this court on 5 February 2020. The matter having thus been finalised, this court is no longer seized with the matter. The steps contemplated in the notice of motion filed on 11 February 2020 will accordingly not proceed in this court.”
The letter is signed by the Registrar of the Supreme Court.
This letter described as wholly unprecedented sent shockwaves through the legal fraternity, puzzled because this matter is yet to be heard in public court.
In a telephonic interview with Ockert Jansen, Deputy Director in the public relations in the Office of the Judiciary, Jansen confirmed that this letter was indeed penned by the judiciary.
“Yes, it comes from this office,” he declared. When questioned about the apparent irregular manner in which this communication was made available, an abrasive Jansen quipped “according to which rule is it not allowed ?”.
Jansen declined to answer further questions and requested that questions be forwarded to him.
According to a footnote in a press release issued by Ockert:“In line with Article 78(5) of the Namibian Constitution, Namibia has made the monumental move to establish an independent body of the judiciary that separates it from the Ministry of Justice, named the ‘office of the judiciary’, a juristic body by virtue of the Judiciary Act 2015 (Act No 11 of 2015) which is administratively and financially independent. The office of the judiciary is the administrative arm for the judiciary, which includes the Supreme Court, High Court and Lower Courts (regional and district) within Namibia.”
In response Angula Co Inc applied for the enrolment of the matter. This application is done in accordance with Rule 7 of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Namibia, relating to the presidential elections challenges.
“We accordingly respectfully request that, in view of our application for hearing date, the matter be enrolled for hearing by the Court itself, as required by Rule 7 and contemplated by prayer 1 of the notice of motion.”
All eyes are on the Supreme Court as next Wednesday, the required three days would have passed for an application to be made for a hearing date. “On Wednesday at 10h00, I will be at the Supreme Court to obtain the date for our hearing”, confirmed Elize Angula in a telephonic interview.
Expressing her shock and dismay Angula continues “a letter like this should be written by a Judge. In effect, the Registrar is now delivering a ruling and that is not the responsibility of a Registrar; it is the responsibility of the Chief Justice or a Judge appointed by the Chief Justice.”
Angula is of the opinion that the matter was handled in this way to intercept the embarrassment of the judiciary having handed down a verdict which she states ‘smacks of intellectual dishonesty”. The rules of the Court, she claims “must be obeyed”.
“This is wrong and sets the wrong precedent for the country. Principles are worthy of dying for and we are not moving an inch. To us, that letter is of no consequence and procedures must be followed.”
Angula is determined to appear at the Supreme Court next week in order to be allocated a date for the matter to be formally heard.
There was no response forthcoming from Jansen at the time of going to press. “All of us are accountable to the people”, concluded Angula.