NCD candidates take counting to court

Twelve NCD Regional candidates have filed a proceeding in the National Court, seeking interim orders to stop further counting in the NCD Regional Seat.

Andy Bawa, Jamie Maxtone-Graham, Michael Kandiu, Robert Agen, James Melegepa, Tom Watinga, Steven Kilage, Brian Pulume, Noel Anjo, Francis Tanga, Jamuga Stone and Bonny Igime, as candidates, filed the urgent application against NCD Election Manager Alwyn Jimmy and Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato.

The matter came before Justice Collin Makail today but was adjourned to Thursday after their lawyer asked for an adjournment.

The notice of motion, filed on July 14, is to ask the court to stop counting pending the final determination of the matter. It will be moved tomorrow.

The 12 candidates vying the NCD Regional seat are asking the court to order a recount of all first preference ballot papers counted so far. They ask for an order to allow scrutiny and raise objection in accordance to the Organic Law on National and Local Level Government Elections (OLNLLGE).

They want the court to restrain security officers from harassing, intimidating or abusing the appointed scrutineer at the scrutiny place.

The candidates are seeking orders that Jimmy strictly comply with requirements of section 154(2) (Scrutiny of ordinary votes in elections) of the organic law (OLNLLGE), that the opening of all remaining ballot boxes be done in the presence of presiding officers forthwith.

In their motion, they are seeking five declaratory orders.

They are asking the court to declare that scrutiny of votes by their appointed scrutineers be done in accordance with part XIV(Scrutiny) of the organic law.

They are also asking the court to declare that it is a mandatory requirement for presiding officers, polling clerk or officers or scrutineers, to be present at the time an electoral officer opens all ballot boxes received from the polling places, as pursuant to section 154(2) (Scrutiny of ordinary votes in elections) of the OLNLLGE.

The 12 candidates are also asking the court to declare that scrutiny be done and their scrutineers be able to raise objections, either on ballot boxes or scrutiny, as outlined in section 152 (Actions on objection to ballot papers) and 153A(2) (Excluding ballot papers from scrutiny) and have objections dealt with accordance with the provisions.

They are further seeking the court’s declaration that if security is present, security personnel do not have the right, power or authority to harass, intimidate, threaten or shut down scrutineers from raising objections as authorised by law.

Sally Pokiton