Namibia’s independent candidate challenges election in court

In this photo taken on Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019, Namibian President Hage Geingob arrives to cast his vote in Windhoek, Namibia. With more than 85% of votes counted, Namibia’s president is set to win another term and already is thanking voters. The southern African nation’s electoral commission says the president leads with 57% of the vote while the top opposition challenger has 28%. That’s a sharp decrease in support for the president from 87% in the previous election in 2014. Public frustration has been high over corruption scandals and unemployment. (AP Photo/Brandon van Wyk)

WINDHOEK, Namibia (AP) — Namibian independent presidential candidate Panduleni Itula has lodged a legal challenge to his loss in last month’s elections.

Itula has urged Namibia’s Supreme Court to order a re-run of the elections as soon as possible, charging that they were unfair.

In his 126-page affidavit, Itula alleged gross irregularities with the electronic voting machines used during the polls. The Supreme Court has not yet set a date to hear Itula’s case.

President Hage Geingob of the ruling SWAPO party is to be sworn in to a new term on March 21, after winning re-election to a second five-year term in the Nov. 27 elections. His support dropped from the 87% he garnered in 2014 to 56%, amid public frustration over graft scandals and unemployment.

Itula, who also a SWAPO member, won 30% of the vote.

The ruling SWAPO party has been shaken by corruption allegations linked to fishing quotas that brought two cabinet ministers to resign. SWAPO, in power since independence from South Africa in 1990, lost its strategic two-thirds majority in parliament, dropping from 77 seats to 63 seats.

Namibia is a resource-rich southern African nation with a population of 2.4 million people. Some 1.3 million voters were registered for election and turnout was 60%.