Andrew Kathindi and Tujoromajo Kasuto

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has set 20 August as the date for interviews for the appointment of the new Ombudsman.

Interviews, which were earlier set to have taken place on 20 July, were indefinitely called off after one of the shortlisted candidates was hospitalised. “The JSC has deemed it prudent to republish the list of the candidates that were shortlisted for the July 2021 sitting, which had to be postponed as stated above. The below mentioned candidates who were shortlisted on 4 June 2021, and were supposed to have been interviewed in July 2021, would now be interviewed at the JSC sitting scheduled for 20 August 2021, at 9 am. The candidates are Mr. Tousy Namiseb, Mrs. Ruth Herunga and Mr Basilius Dyakugha,” JSC Public Relations Officer, Selma Mwaetako, says.

Incumbent Ombudsman, John Walters, was last month appointed by President Hage Geingob as acting Ombudsman for two months from 1 August until September 30 after his term ended on 31 July. Walters served for 17 years as Ombudsman, since July 2004.

This development follows a day after the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) called for the JSC to re-advertise the position, and for transparency in the appointment of new Ombudsman. PDM’s Justice Shadow Minister and member of parliament, Timotheus Shihumbu, said the party has received numerous requests from members of the public, who are concerned about the manner in which the process of the appointment of the next Ombudsman has been conducted.

In a statement Shihumbu states that PDM is cognisant of the fact that the interview process was halted indefinitely because one of the three shortlisted candidates was not available for the interviews, and this is being done in accordance with the provisions of the Namibian Constitution and the Judicial Service Commission Act 18 of 1995.

Shihumbu adds that the test of time has vindicated their belief that transformation is still wanted and has not taken root in society, in the need to reform the processes involved in the search for judicial officials to serve in some of our autonomous State institutions, including the Office of the Ombudsman of Namibia.