Judges are independent – Geingob … president encourages courts to act without fear or favour
President Hage Geingob yesterday assured Namibians that no member of Cabinet or the Legislature would be allowed to meddle in the affairs of the Judiciary.
He added that a well-performing independent and impartial Judiciary remains a central part of Namibia’s constitutional architecture and a very important feature of the country’s young democracy.
“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,” the President stressed during the official opening of the 2020 legal year at the Supreme Court in Windhoek yesterday.
Geingob further assured Chief Justice Peter Shivute – who just minutes before him had complained of a lack of resources to adequately perform their duties – that the government and all organs of State will do all that is necessary to accord such assistance as the Judiciary may require in order to achieve and protect its independence, dignity and effectiveness.
This, the President said, will include making sufficient budgetary provision for the Judiciary’s functions to be carried out without stifling financial challenges.
According to Geingob, the government on its part, will play its role in ensuring that the Judiciary is strengthened not only in terms of its structural independence, but also in making sure that it operates in an environment where it is not subjected to undue public or institutional pressure in its vital work of dispensing justice to all people irrespective of their economic or social status.
The President added that in today’s fast-changing social, legal and political landscape around the globe, it is important to highlight that as required by the constitution the Judiciary, in attending to all matters that come before it for adjudication, must remain determined at all times to act fairly, objectively and without fear, favour or prejudice.
“In this respect, while the Judiciary should not be unnecessarily and overly sensitive towards justified comments or criticisms 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 stated.
He further said that he fears 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 its affairs and start resorting to taking the law into their own hands, something that has proved in other countries to be the mother of all chaos and anarchy.
“As a people who toiled under the harshness of colonial oppression and prevailed against the tyranny of apartheid, we view justice as sacrosanct and a core tenet of our governance architecture,” the President stressed. He added that “our resilience in the face of adversity is testament to our robust governance architecture, which is characterised by sound processes, systems and institutions”.
2020-02-13 07:52:25 | 4 months ago