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Statement by His Excellency Dr Hage G. Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia, at the Opening of the 2021 Legal Year

10 FEBRUARY 2021

Last week, I opened the first session of Cabinet for this year and yesterday, I was honoured to open the 3rd session of the 7th Parliament. Today’s event, completes the opening of the working calendars of the three organs of State, namely the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary. These three pillars are symbols of our Governance Architecture, which for three decades have maintained Namibia’s stature as a bastion of democracy, peace, stability and the Rule of Law.

Our constitutional democracy is anchored on key principles of justice, the rule of law, which encapsulates the supremacy of our constitution, and the separation of powers. The latter being one I want to focus on for a moment.

As a constitutional imperative the three organs of state are imbued with the responsibility to interact for the benefit of the collective good of the Namibian people. It is clear however, that they do this conscious of the clear division of responsibilities in their respective core functions, and with the intent to prevent the concentration of power and provide for checks and balances. This principle is sacrosanct and key to the functioning of the Namibian government. As a hallmark conception of our constitutional democracy, the Executive is not taking its role in ensuring that the three organs of State are separate and act independently lightly. Namibians too, must safeguard this democratic principle and not contribute to dilute its value.

The judiciary plays a central role in the interaction of this triad. And its independence is rightly and firmly entrenched in our constitution. To which end, article 78 (3), of the Namibian Constitution reaffirms:

“No member of the Cabinet or the Legislature or any other person shall interfere with Judges or judicial officers in the exercise of their judicial functions, and all organs of the State shall accord such assistance as the Courts may require protecting their independence, dignity and effectiveness, subject to the terms of this Constitution or any other law.”

As I reflect on the importance of this provision, I am also reminded that yesterday, was Constitution Day. An important day to remember where we come from and reflect on where we are going. A reminder of the solemn promises we set out in our preamble provisions and the recognition that our constitution must be transformative.

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