PRESS RELEASE

July 2002

1.
The Society of Advocates of Namibia deplores the comments made by Mr Paulus Kapia concerning the Chief Justice of Namibia in his capacity as the Secretary of the Youth League of the ruling party, at a recent meeting held at Keetmanshoop.
2.
Mr Kapia is reported to have suggested that the Chief Justice should not have sanctioned the ruling of the Supreme Court of Namibia in the recent appeal of The Government of the Republic of Namibia and 2 Others versus G K Mwilima and 127 Others, as he is an employee of the Namibian Government. Mr Kapia reportedly went on to suggest that the Chief Justice should not be paid his salary in order that such funds be used to cover the legal costs of the accused in the treason trial (as a sanction for his concurrence in the ruling).
3.
Mr Kapia clearly overlooks the fact that both the Supreme Court and the High Court Benches, which were especially enlarged, resulted in a situation where ultimately all 8 judges involved agreed upon the essential outcome of that case and for the need for state funded legal representation for the treason trialists.
4.
This judgement now under attack by Mr Kapia was a closely reasoned judgement reflecting a great degree of consensus arrived at by the five Supreme Court judges, upholding in most part the approach of the three judge High Court panel.
5.
Mr Kapia significantly (and understandably) does not take issue with any of the reasoning upon which the Court based its rulings. Yet he sees fit to launch his unbridled and completely baseless attack on the Chief Justice, thus undermining the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law in Namibia, especially as he does so in his capacity as an office bearer of the ruling party.
6.
The Namibian Broadcasting Corporation surprisingly saw it fit to give considerable prominence to Mr Kapia's uninformed and baseless views without placing them in their proper context as would be expected by the national broadcaster in accordance with standard journalistic ethics and standards.
7.
Unfortunately Mr Kapia's widely published remarks have not as yet been repudiated or even qualified by his party's leadership in government. The Society of Advocates calls upon the Minister of Justice to make it clear to the Namibian public that his Ministry and the Government of the Republic of Namibia disassociates itself from Mr Kapia's statements which clearly serve no other purpose but to undermine the rule of law in Namibia and demonstrate such grave disrespect and contempt for the respected head of the judiciary.