Namibia jumps to Cheda’s defence

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NAMIBIA Justice minister Sekeuse Shanghala has jumped to the defence of former Bulawayo High Court judge, Justice Maphios Cheda, who is under fire from local pressure groups for allegedly grabbing land reserved for Namibian citizens.

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

Shanghala was on Tuesday forced to issue a ministerial statement in the Namibian Parliament in defence of Cheda, warning residents that an attack on the judiciary had dire consequences on the country’s democracy.

“Public confidence in the integrity and independence, dignity and effectiveness of the courts is the basis on which respect for the judiciary is premised. It is a necessary ingredient without which Namibia as a constitutional democracy cannot effectively function.

“Hence, I make this statement to seek to inform particularly my young compatriots, those that have been persuaded to join an unfortunate demonstration to the High Court at Oshaka, that you are unfortunately going up a dangerous and perilous road,” he warned.

The minister urged Namibians to approach the country’s Judicial Services Commission if they had complaints against “any member of the judiciary” rather than resort to social media.

“I do not take issue with your right and freedom to association and expression-not at all and as long as your so doing is civil. No threats of violence, no need for teargas. Convince your organisers to file a complaint with the Judicial Services Commission of they have grounds for a complaint.

“If you feel that there was any other infringement of the law go and report a police case. If there is corruption you suspect by anyone report it to the Anti-Corruption Commission. What you should not do and which is the basis for my statement today, do not demonise the personae of judges,” the minister said.

“Disagree with a ruling, write literature and seek to outline your view of correctness. Yet, as I say, do not attack the judiciary as an institution. Wither down the respect of the judiciary, and we start eroding from the pillars that hold our house up tall.”

Justice Cheda is now a member of the Namibian judiciary serving as a judge in the south-west African country’s Oshaka High Court in the north of that country.

Early this week, a pressure group known as AR threatened a protest march against Cheda and pushing for his deportation.