Namibia: Geingob States Support for Judiciary

13 February 2020

ANY improper interference with Namibia's judiciary will spell danger to the country and have far-reaching effects for Namibian society as a whole, president Hage Geingob said at the Supreme Court in Windhoek yesterday.

Delivering a speech at the Office of the Judiciary's opening of the 2020 legal year, Geingob said Namibia's government was committed to ensuring that no member of the Cabinet or the legislature, or any other person, interferes with judges or other judicial officers in the exercise of their judicial functions.

"This is because we believe that a well-performing independent and impartial judiciary remains a central part of our constitutional architecture and a very important feature of our young democracy," the president said.

"Any improper interference with the judiciary, I should caution, will spell danger to our republic and will have far-reaching effects for our society as a whole."

Geingob added that the government and all organs of state would do everything necessary to give the judiciary the assistance it may need to achieve and protect its independence, dignity and effectiveness. That would include making sufficient budgetary provisions to the judiciary, he said.

The government would make sure that the judiciary operates in an environment where it is not subjected to undue public or institutional pressure in its work of dispensing justice, the president said.

He stated: "In this respect, while the judiciary should not be unnecessarily and overly sensitive towards justified comments or criticism of its decisions, I am of the view that it is in fact dangerous and unfair to men and women who have been called to the bench and who undertake the difficult job of dispensing justice on a daily basis, to be subjected to unjustified ridicule or insults because of the decisions they make in accordance with our laws."

Geingob continued: "I fear that reckless and gratuitous allegations aimed at impugning the integrity of the judiciary may lead to a situation where members of the public could lose faith in the judiciary and start resorting to taking the law into their own hands - some-thing that has proved to be the mother of all chaos and anarchy in other countries."

Turning to the issue of graft, Geingob said the government was committed "to tackle the evil of corruption, by demanding ethical management and administration of the state's affairs by state functionaries".

He said the government would continue to review laws and policies to close loopholes that make Namibia's laws and systems susceptible to exploitation.

"This is done with the under-standing that robust processes, systems and transparent institutions act as the first line of defence against corruption and mismanagement, particularly of our national resources," he said.

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