PM defends extradition draft with Russia

Martin Endjala

Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila defended a draft extradition treaty between Namibia and Russia in the National Assembly yesterday.

She said that the treaty between Namibia and Russia on extradition of persons for criminal matters is in accordance with the Namibian constitution and therefore supports the draft treaty for tabling in the chamber.
Deputy Leader of the Landless People’s Movement, Henny Seibeb who said the draft treaty, creates the impression that the treaty will be retrospective, which he strongly denounced as not allowed in terms of the constitution.

The provision, Seibeb referred to, suggests that assistance for extradition shall be permissible for an act that took place before the date of the entry into force of the treaty.

“Our law in this country does not permit retrospectivity. Why are we inserting provision in this bilateral treaty? It is illegal, unconstitutional, it is void,’’ Seibeb stated.

Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said in response said that Namibia is a country that is ruled by its own constitutional laws and not that of other countries. “Any treaty that Namibia is to sign, it should firstly ensure that its laws are aligned with certain provisions of such treaties, and if they are not, we will refuse,’’ she pointed out.

However, the Landless People’s Movement leader Bernadus SwartBooi, had a different take on the
Matter, highlighting concerns and cautioning government not to sign such treaties without thoroughly scrutinising them.

“You are so used to just signing treaties and tabling them in the chamber without them being challenged or debated,’’ Swartbooi charged.

The MP and LPM leader further advised that Namibia needs to be vigilant with some countries before signing treaties, which he regards as dangerous given their history of human rights
violations.

He further pointed out that no superpower country will ever be subjected to laws of a country like Namibia.

Such treaties, he said, should be brought to the attention of Namibian courts for the provision to be ventilated to give final approval.

The Prime Minister through an interjection reminded the chamber on how processes work, assuring the MPs that this is exactly what has been done hence the deliberation on the matter in the house.

Saying that proper procedures were not followed is simply undermining the work that has been put in to ensure that Namibia stands firm on its Constitution.

Mike Kavekotora, the president of the Rally for Democracy and Progress stressedg that as much as Namibia wants to stand by its laws, a superpower often dictates the outcomes of such treaties.

Kavekotora advised Namibia to ensure that if provisions of treaties are not in line with its laws, the country must refuse to enter into such treaties.

The draft treaty is said to have been initialled by the former Minister of Justice Sakeus Shangala on 8 October 2018, a revelation that drew more controversy.

Shangala is an accused in the long-running Fishrot corruption case and has since resigned following his arrest in 2019..

“Anything drafted by this man, must be questioned. It must not be trusted. This document must be re- drafted,’’ Seibeb demanded

Despite all these, the Prime Minister was not convinced, as she pointed out that the MPs opposing the draft failed to make constructive and convincing points, but instead attacked Russia for their dislike of the country.

By Observer