NOT law but a gentleman’s agreement links the Office of the Ombudsman to the Ministry of Justice, a matter Namibia’s Ombudsman Advocate Basilius Dyakugha aims to abolish.
In an interview with Informanté, Dyakugha said the Ombudsman is an independent body but has been operating like a directorate of the Ministry, which should not be the case.
“This has become a big challenge to us as an independent body because we have to ask someone permission to investigate a case, to give us the money and the cars,” he said.
He said this “does not anchor well with the public”.
“Separation of power is clear, the Ministry of Justice is an executive body as an arm of the executive branch, the judiciary is another branch of government and the Ombudsman is in a very key position that was established to play the role of a watchdog,” he said.
Dyakugha stated that the Ombudsman currently has only five offices in the region “which is not a good thing”.
“We are not visible in the regions. We are planning to expand our services of the Ombudsman to all the 14 regions when funds become available,” he said.
Dyakugha, who is on a working visit in the northern areas, has so far been to Kunene, Omusati, Oshana and Ohangwena and is in the Oshikoto Region from Thursday.
He stated these visits are to speak with the leadership ensuring they understand the institution was created themselves through the Constitution.
“We need to respect the institution that we have created for our own good and that is the message I intended to leave them with,” he said.
Dyakugha said once the leadership understands the importance of the Ombudsman, it will change the mindset of the people not to ignore its recommendations.
The Ombudsman was established to address matters on protecting people against violation of rights, abuse of powers, error, negligence, unfair decisions and maladministration, as well as to improve public administration to ensure accountability.