Namibia: AR Issues Ultimatum Over PG Recruitment

23 November 2020

The Affirmative Repositioning (AR) movement has given the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) until 27 November to respond to their demands following a night vigil by its members at the Windhoek residence of Chief Justice and chairman of the JSC, Peter Shivute.

Protesters put up camp over the weekend at Shivute's Eros residence after he failed to show up at the Supreme Court to receive their petition as planned.

The pressure group mobilised on Saturday and held a peaceful protest against the recruitment process of the prosecutor-general.

They are demanding that the JSC cancel the ongoing recruitment process and start afresh. AR is claiming that the current process is 'corrupt'.

They are also demanding the judicial commission embark on a public consultative process regarding the recruitment process, including conducting the interviews in public to ensure transparency.

The protesters were scheduled to hand over their petition to Shivute at the Supreme Court on Saturday.

But Shivute opted to send the Judiciary's deputy director for security, Onesmus Shivolo - which angered the protesters who marched from Katutura Youth Centre.

"If the chief justice was not going to come, he should have communicated with us. If we are not being taken seriously, why should we take any of them seriously," said AR leader Job Amupanda.

Amupanda explained that they have officially communicated with the chief justice prior to the protest and Shivute had agreed to receive the petition in person.

The demonstration was initially scheduled to take place on Wednesday but through communication with Shivute it was moved to Saturday so not to disrupt court proceedings, according to Amupanda.

Following's Shivute's no-appearance, the protesters walked to his residence in Eros, to hand over their petition. However, he still did not show up, causing protesters to camp and sleep on the street, waiting for him.

On Sunday morning, member of the JSC Uno Katjipuka-Sibolile arrived on the scene and received the petition on behalf of the chief justice. "We take this issue of the recruitment of the prosecutor-general very seriously. This affects the lives of everyone. It affects the lives of our parents, siblings and also our children to be born. All we want is a transparent Judiciary," said Simon Amunime, AR spokesperson.

Last week, the JSC defended the recruitment process of a new prosecutor-general.

According to the JSC, the public has the right to express opinions and to criticise public institutions, but allegations of criminal conduct against a constitutional body, doing its best to execute an important constitutional mandate, must be grounded in facts.

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