By Simon Liseli
While Namibia marks 33 years in commemorating its Constitution Day on Thursday February 9, 2023. Zambezi Governor, Lawrence Alfea Sampofu has praised the Constitution of the Republic of Namibia as one of the best in the World.
According to him, Namibia was under colony for hundred years by the British and Germans, with the apartheid South African government from 1920 -1990 and in 1989 the United Nations (UN) implemented Resolution 435 for Namibia to gain its independence.
The United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG) was deployed to supervise the general elections for independence that was held in October 1989, and was won by the current ruling SWAPO party and other political parties that contested in the elections got seats in the parliament.
Thereafter the elections, SWAPO members and members of other political parties who got seats in the National Assembly (parliament) came together and formed what they called the Constituent Assembly to draft the Namibian Constitution.
The draft of the Constitution started in November 1989 and completed in January 1990, and it was adopted on 9 February 1990.
Sampofu pointed out that Namibian Constitution is regarded as one of the best Constitution in the World where Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms are enshrined.
He said that the drafting of the Constitution of Namibia was under the Chairmanship of the current Namibian Head of State Dr. Hage Geingob.
The Constitution was agreed and signed by all members of the Constituent Assembly who participated in its drafting and before Namibia declared independence the Constitution was again signed and became the Constitution of the Republic of Namibia on 9 February 1990 that marks its birthday every year.
“Today we are celebrating the 33rd years of our constitution, which means Namibia is a sovereign with its own constitution, where all functions of the government are stipulated” noted Zambezi governor.
He however stressed that the government of the Republic of Namibia is divided into three branches that are found in the Constitution namely the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary.
Sampofu encouraged young generation to read the Constitution and understand it because it is where their rights are interpreted and all Namibian human fundamental rights are stipulated.
Governor Sampofu concluded by appealing to all Namibians to respect the Constitution without changing what is written but to respect and love it. “We must respect it as Namibians and love our Constitution”.
MESSAGE FROM HON. PROF. PETER H. KATJAVIVI, MP, SPEAKER OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
NAMIBIA CONSTITUTION DAY, 9 FEBRUARY
Fellow Namibians, on the 9th February 1990, the Constituent Assembly which consisted of 72 elected representatives from various political parties adopted the Namibian Constitution. Under the able Chairmanship of H.E. Dr Hage G. Geingob, the Constituent Assembly agreed to make all decisions by consensus and not by majority vote. This was a remarkable achievement, given that the Members of the Constituent Assembly were from different political parties that were adversaries during the liberation struggle. It created a political culture of respect and a common commitment to national development that served Namibia well, and should be preserved.
It is now exactly 33 years since the Members of the Constituent Assembly agreed to put their signatures on the most powerful document in the Namibian history, the law of the land, a living document we all proudly call Our Constitution. Since then, the 9th of February is annually observed on our calendar as one of the significant days in the annals of our history. Every year on the 9th February, we pause for a moment and reflect on this important document, which serve as the blue print of our existence and which also guarantees our basic fundamental freedoms and rights.
We celebrate this day because, the Namibian Constitution allows our citizens to be part of the decision making processes on how and who should govern 2 them. We do this through democratically electing our representatives whom we entrust with the responsibilities of leading our country.
We will forever remain indebted to Namibia’s Founding Fathers and Mothers for crafting our Constitution within a remarkable period of time and unanimously agreeing to it. Namibia’s living Constitution is hailed by the world as one of the most progressive Constitutions. To keep the spirit and aspirations of our Constitution, each and every Namibian should strive and endeavour for equality and inclusivity for all, across all genders and age groups, especially, the previously deprived and disadvantaged.
Today, gender parity has become a key issue in the National Assembly as we have 49% female MPs and 51% male MPs in the House; this is often referred to as zebra style of political governance. The number of young parliamentarians has also improved significantly. Our Constitution has allowed our Parliament to enact progressive laws since independence and repeal apartheid-era discriminatory legal instruments, ensuring that all people are treated equally before the law. The Constitution protects fundamental human rights and liberties. These are absolute rights that are enjoyed by every citizen of the country. In order to inculcate a culture of democracy and leadership in young people, the National Assembly proudly hosts the Children’s Parliament every year while the National Council hosts the Junior National Council. These initiatives serve as platforms for Namibian children to address challenges they face, to recommend to the government what needs to be done, and to gain experience of democratic parliamentary processes.
It is also worth mentioning that the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), one of our development partners, helped the Parliament to ensure that our Constitution is available on various software platforms. It can be downloaded on mobile devices and one can walk around with it. We are delighted to benchmark our 3 Constitution across the world because of the provisions of there-in that purposefully ensure freedom, equality and justice. Let us continue to respect and guard the Constitution of the Republic of Namibia, so as to galvanize peace, stability and harmony of our country.
LONG LIVE THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA! LONG LIVE NAMIBIA!