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No plans for Rundu High Court

2023-08-02  John Muyamba

No plans for Rundu High Court

RUNDU – Prosecutor general Martha Imalwa has said despite a spike in criminal cases in the two Kavango regions and the Zambezi region, a division of the High Court cannot be established in Rundu due to lack of financial resources.

The PG during the High Court circuit sitting media briefing held at Rundu on Monday said, “We cannot just wake up and say we need a high court there because the decision still has to come from the central government,’’ she said while responding to New Era on the question why the judiciary does not open a high court in Rundu, seeing the demand from the three north eastern regions.

Imalwa noted that when the high court division was set up in Oshakati, they took into consideration the number of criminal cases coming from those regions, because the four ‘O’ northern regions of Oshana, Ohangwena, Oshikoto and Omusati regions combined together are second to Windhoek in terms of where serious offences are originating from. 

“It’s only recently that the increase is also being noticed in the two Kavango regions, in Zambezi region and other parts of the country, the challenge is that you cannot set up the high court in all these regions at the same time; resources also play a crucial role. It is not easy to have a sitting judge here. It’s costly; that is why we are moving step by step to see what is next,’’ she said.

Imalwa said what determines where the high court should be or the decision of establishing courts is political. 

“It’s our political heads, led by the Minister of Justice and then the consultation with stakeholders like the judiciary, the prosecution and then the others will follow,’’ she noted. 

“The reason for taking the access to justice to the regions like the circuit court as we are holding is also based on our mandate. That is why if we have to have a circuit court, there is a need for consultation between the judiciary and my office, as well as other stakeholders like legal aid and the law society. The reason why we have to be consulted is that the mandate to institute criminal prosecution lies with the State, and the PG is the head of the criminal prosecution in the country,’’ she said.

The PG further indicated that there is a regional court in Katima Mulilo. 

“Previously, that region has been served by a regional magistrate sitting in Rundu. Our previous divisions were that Rundu was a division catering for Zambezi region when it comes to criminal cases – but now, because of the number of cases, a regional court division has been created in Katima Mulilo,” she noted.

The High Court is sitting from yesterday until 15 August in the Kavango East region (Rundu), and the judge president will preside over the circuit court. –

2023-08-02  John Muyamba

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