Politicians welcome public oral interviews for judges before appointments

Stefanus Nashama

Policymakers Josef Kauandenge of the National Unity Democratic Organisation (NUDO) and Maximalliant Katjimune of the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), said they are happy with the decision of Chief Justice Peter Shivute to allow the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to conduct public interviews for judges before they are appointed.

Expressing his views on the decision, Kauandenge asserted that the country has reached a transparent development in the independence of the judicial.

“This is a welcome development long overdue,” he said.

He highlighted that it is in the public interest for the JSC to be above reproach and ensure judges are subjected to public scrutiny before they are appointed to the positions.

He said this will bring transparency for the public to have confidence in their appointments and judgments.

“Judges are important actors in our legal system and surely they must be subjected to public scrutiny before they get those jobs,” he stressed.

At the same time, Kauandenge acknowledged that judges would now have to reassure the public that their fate in the legal system is qualified and trustworthy with integrity.

However, he expressed disappointment in the judiciary system, pointing out that this development only came to reach this level after so many years of independence.

“It is a pity though that it has taken 33 years into our independence to reach this level,” he commented.

He further commended the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) movement for the efforts it had made to bring about this development.

Meanwhile, Katjimune said he acknowledged the decision to allow all interviews for prospective judges to be conducted openly and transparently.

“This will enhance the image of the judiciary as far as transparency and accountability is concerned,” he said.

Katjimune also applauded the efforts to enhance transparency and accountability across all state institutions.

This week, the Office of the Judiciary issued a statement on the selection process for the judicial appointment as well as the amendment to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) Regulation.

“In a commitment to uphold the principles of transparency and accountability, the Judicial Service Commission (the Commission) at its meeting of 15 September 2023, resolved to amend the Judicial Service Commission Regulations 2011 (the Regulations) as per the provisions of Article 85(3) of the Namibia Constitution, to mandate that interviews of nominated candidates for judicial office must be conducted in public. The amended Regulations were published and came into effect on 24 November 2023,” Delila Salatiel, Spokesperson of the Office of the Judiciary announced in the statement.

Commenting on the JSC decision this week, AR’s National Spokesperson, Goerge Kambala, said this move demonstrates a commitment to upholding the highest standards of integrity and fairness within the legal system.

He urged all stakeholders to actively participate and engage in all upcoming public interviews to appoint judges.

“It is through such transparency and inclusivity that we can strengthen the independence and integrity of our judicial system,” he said.

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