Namibia: LPM Petition Claims Judiciary Is 'Captured'

Keetmanshoop — The Landless People's Movement (LPM) claims Swapo's "corrosive" political interests captured the judiciary.

This has been contained in a petition handed over by LPM member Timotheus Peter to Astrid Sauerweina, head of administration

at the Keetmanshoop Magistrate's Court yestersay. "It has become evident that the principle of separation of powers no longer applies in reality and has rather become an empty rhetorical mantra," the petition reads.

It stated that Namibia turned into an irreversible and dangerous capture and control of the judiciary, reminiscent of Zimbabwe that degenerated into a despotic and autocratic regime.

It said that the beatings of LPM members by security forces have become rampant, as was the case allegedly last week in Katutura.

"There is general lawlessness perpetrated against LPM and around the country against innocent civilians," said Peter when reading out the statement.

LPM leaders Bernadus Swartbooi and Henny Seibeb lost their legal fight in which

they were suing National Assembly Speaker Peter Katjavivi for banning them from parliament indefinitely.

High Court Judge Kobus Miller dismissed the parliamentarians' application, saying it would be judicial overreach if the court was to grant the relief sought by the two parliamentarians.

"It is not for this court to usurp in part

at least what is pending before the parliamentary committee seized with the matter and to pronounce itself on the matter at this stage," said Miller.

Referring to the issue of its two regional councillors who have ceased to be members of National Council (NC), the LPM reasoned that the magistrate presiding during elections of members of the //Kharas Regional Council's management committee used the interpretation of the law based on her technical and legal expertise.

The two LPM councillors, Anseline Beukes and Gerrit Witbooi, who were elected as members of the //Kharas Regional Council's management committee on 9 April 2021, lost their eligibility to be elected and serve as members of the National Council on that date in terms of section 18(4) of the Regional Councils Act.

The councillors were elected to serve on the management committee and as such, they cannot attend sessions in the upper house of parliament. "It is now evident that the entire political and judicial system is ganging up against this magistrate who was just doing her work," the statement alleged.

It further reads that instead of applying for a review application on the legality of the

election process, the National Council annulled the decision and rather declared vacancies in the August House. The petition also alleged that the NC has not even sought a legal opinion before removing the two regional councillors.

"The chief justice is urging the magistrate to resign whilst she is now being targeted and harassed to force her to change her decision or resign," Peter said. Peter said that the manner in which the recent LPM High Court urgent application was dealt with reaffirmed the movement's belief that the judiciary is indeed captured by Swapo when reading

out the statement.

He further alleged that the judiciary is always trampling on the rights of others in matters involving Swapo.

"Furthermore, the adverse court order, which, in our view, seeks to discourage democrats from seeking recourse in the

courts, is a sign of a captured and compromised judiciary," it continued.

The petition also called on Namibians to unify to salvage their ever-declining democracy for the sake of future generations.

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