Drafting the Constitution Drafting the Constitution

Drafting the Constitution

The implementation of Resolution 435 in 1989 under the supervision of the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations and assisted by the United Nations Transitional Assistance Group led to the first ever democratic elections in Namibia. In November 1989 the Namibian people turned out in big numbers to elect representatives to the Constituent Assembly. Ten political parties registered for the November 1989 elections and 90% of the 701 483 registered voters cast their votes to elect the 72 representatives to draft a Constitution for an Independent Namibia.

The South West Africa People's Organisation, SWAPO, won 41 seats in the election, the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA) won 21 seats, the United Democratic Front (UDF) secured 4 seats, Action Christian National (ACN) 3 seats and the Federal Convention of Namibia (FCN), the Namibia National Front (NNF) and the Namibia Patriotic Front (NPF) each secured one seat in the Constituent Assembly.

Under the chairmanship of Mr. Hage G Geingob the Constituent Assembly drafted the Constitution for the Republic of Namibia in a spirit of give and take. The 72 members of the Constituent Assembly unanimously adopted the Constitution on 9 February 1990. The Constituent Assembly elected the leader of SWAPO, Dr. Sam Nujoma as the first president of independent Namibia. At independence on 21 March 1990 the Constituent Assembly became the first legislature, namely the National Assembly of Namibia.

Constitution of the Republic of Namibia Constitution of the Republic of Namibia

The Constitution of the Republic of Namibia

The Constitution of the Republic of Namibia is the fundamental law of the country which recognises the inherent dignity, equal and inalienable human rights of all members of the Namibian society. It provides for a sovereign, secular, democratic and unitary State founded on the principle of democracy and the rule of law. Fundamental human rights and freedoms, including freedom of speech and expression are enshrined in the Constitution and it furthermore lays down the division of power between die executive, the legislature and the independent judiciary.

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The Constitution Provides The Constitution Provides

The Constitution Provides

The Constitution provides for three branches of government, namely the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. The executive branch consists of the President, the Prime Minister and Ministers. The President is elected by popular vote for a term of five years and can be re-elected for a further term of five years.

The President appoints the Prime Minister and Cabinet ministers from elected or nominated representatives to the National Assembly and the National Council. The bicameral legislature consists of the National Assembly and the National Council. Members of the National Assembly are elected for a term of five years. The National Assembly consists of 78 members of whom 72 are elected by popular vote and six non-voting members nominated to the National Assembly by the President

The National Council consists of 26 members, who are elected by and from the members of the 13 regional councils. They are elected for six years. The National Council reviews bills passed by the National Assembly and recommends legislation on matters of regional concern.

The judiciary is independent and subject only to the Constitution and the law. A Supreme Court, a High Court and a number of lower courts share the judicial power. Judges are appointed on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission. The Constitution also provides for the appointment of an Ombudsperson on the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission. The Ombudsperson reports directly to the National Assembly on the exercise of his/her powers and functions.

Except for members of the Judiciary who are appointed, all members of the legislative and executive branches are elected. The Constitution provides for regular presidential and national assembly elections, regional council elections and local authority elections.

Hailed as one of the most liberal constitutions in the world, the Namibian Constitution is one of few constitutions worldwide that provides for the maintenance of ecosystems, essential ecological processes, biological diversity and the utilization of natural resources on a sustainable basis. It furthermore provides measures against the dumping or recycling of foreign nuclear and toxic waste on Namibian territory in order to ensure the future of the country for present and future generations.