TWO magistrates from the Katutura Magistrate’s Court who in 2016 recused themselves from proceeding in matters of the regional court because of an alleged mistreatment by the Magistrate’s Commission were ordered on Friday by the supreme court to resume their function in that court.
Magistrates Uaatjo Uanivi and Johannes Shuuveni recused themselves from partly heard cases in the Regional Court after they were appointed as acting magistrates of the regional court, although they could not be appointed full-time as they do not hold Bachelor of Laws degrees (Latin: Legum Baccalaureus; LLB), a requirement of the Magistrates Act.
The two judges bemoaned the fact that they were considered good enough to preside over regional court matters but were not deemed competent enough to be appointed on a full-time basis.
Supreme court Judge of Appeal, Sylvester Mainga noted that although he sympathises with the two magistrates and their frustrations, they cannot use their personal grievances to recuse themselves.
“The Magistrate’s Commission recognises that they are good enough because of their experience but not good enough to be appointed in permanent capacities in the same court because of the recognition of only certain qualifications in law. The recusals are set aside and the Magistrates are ordered to proceed with the said matters with deliberate speed given the availability of all the parties involved,” Judge Mainga ordered.
He noted that at the time of the recusals, the cases were already pending for approximately seven years in the courts, thereby hindering the accused person’s right to a fair trial and the administration of justice on the victims’ part.
The judge maintained that Magistrates Uanivi and Shuuveni ‘s conduct was sheer insubordination of great magnitude, citing that the two are indeed lucky to escape without any misconduct charges.