2 March 2016: ELECTION PETITIONS: Summary of Proceedings by the Special Rapporteur
Day 15 –2nd March 2016, 10.00 am – Constitutional Court of Seychelles
In the matter of Wavel John Charles Ramkalawan v The Electoral Commission, James Alix Michel and the Attorney-General
The Constitutional Court is made up of the Honourable Chief Justice Twomey, Honourable Judge McKee and Honourable Judge Akiiki-Kiiza. Mr. Wavel Ramkalawan (Petitioner) was represented by Mr. Bernard Georges and Mrs Annette Georges. The Electoral Commission (First Respondent) was represented by Miss Samantha Aglae, Mr James Michel (Second Respondent) was represented by Mr Basil Hoareau together with Mrs Laura Valabhji and Honourable Attorney-General together Mr Ananth Subramanian for the Attorney-General (Third Respondent).
The first witness called to give evidence this morning was Mrs Debra Brioche. Mrs Brioche is a secretary and resides in the Anse Etoile district. She was a polling agent for SNP during the Presidential Elections in the Anse Etoile District. She stated that on the main day of election the agents received a list of 283 voters who had voted at the special voting stations and who are registered in the Anse Etoile District. She went on to state that she was present when the envelopes of the ballots from the special station were delivered to the Anse Etoile polling station. She was shown a document which she confirmed was the list that she had prepared of the name and line of the voters who had come to vote in the station during her presence, she had also noted on the paper that after the envelopes were counted, everyone was informed that there were 284 ballots counted from the special stations and that therefore the list of voters from the special station and the number of envelopes received at the station did not tally. She was shown the account of ballots that listed 284 ballots received which tallied with the number of envelopes but did not tally with the list.
She was cross-examined by Ms Aglae where it was put to her that she was not the counting agent at the station, she confirmed that she did not notice anyone voting twice during the hour in which she was on duty at the station. She was not present during the sorting out and accepted that SNP representatives were present and had signed the document accepting the tally. There was no re-examination of this witness.
The next witness called was Mr Jean –Claude Matombe, who works at the NCC. He is a member of the NGO, Citizen’s Democracy Watch Seychelles (‘CDWS’) which organization observed both rounds of the election. The role of the observers was to observe the general running of the elections and to make recommendations as to the logistics, procedures and observations as to whether the elections rules where followed. CDWS had over 20 observers on Mahe, the special stations and on the outer islands and a preliminary report was issued after both rounds of the elections.
He was asked as to whether he knew of the facility the North East Point Hospital. He confirmed he did and that he had the opportunity to observe this station during the second round of the election. He explained that he arrived at the station at around 7.30am as the staff was preparing all the logistics, he observed the counting of the ballot papers, he was shown the empty boxes and voting started at 8.00am. In the first round he had made observations and recommendations in regards to assisted voting of the elderly residents of the home. Whilst he was at the station he witnessed a man in a wheel chair shouting and complaining that he did not have his ID card but that he wanted to cast his vote. He stated that the man was told to wait, that the man was shouting and swearing and that about 5-10 minutes later somebody who Mr Matombe believed to be the person in charge came to hand the elderly man his ID card. Mr Matombe stated that after he observed the incident he did not take any action because his role is as an observer only and after the election he along with the other observers would compile a report of their observations. Mr Hoareau questioned Mr Matombe and he confirmed that the elderly man that he had observed shouting did in fact vote.
The court was adjourned for half an hour.
Mr Georges wishes to call Mrs Eline Moses to produce the preliminary CDWS report. The court shall reconvene on the 14th March 2016 at 9.00am.