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The Ombudsman, Basilius Dyakugha, says it is high time the office is delinked from the Ministry of Justice if the institution is to function properly.

A speedy adoption of the proposed new Ombudsman Bill, Dyakugha says, will strengthen the mandate and powers of the Ombudsman and give expression to its independence as guaranteed by the Constitution.

For the past 31 years, the office of the Ombudsman has been regarded as a mere directorate, with its budget, procurements, and any other operations controlled by the Ministry of Justice.

Dyakugha is of the view that the Ombudsman Act of 1990 is outdated and needs a complete review.

Already in 2015, a consultant was hired to draft amendments to the Ombudsman Act.

However, the proposed amendments were too numerous, and it was decided to draft a completely new bill instead.

The new bill is now with the Ministry of Justice to follow through with the legislative process.

Dyakugha told the media in the capital that the bill will give a broader definition of fundamental human rights and freedoms to include the rights and freedoms guaranteed in international human rights instruments, which are part of Namibia's legal framework provided in Article 144 of the Namibian Constitution.

If passed into law, the bill will delink the Ombudsman from the Ministry of Justice and have its own Executive Director.

The law will also give the Ombudsman an express duty to promote human rights, including the power to raid places of detention, announced or unannounced.

The law will also provide for the right of any person to complain to the Ombudsman, as well as the power for the office to institute investigations of its own volition.

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Photo Credits
Namibian Sun
Author
Daniel Nadunya