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Staff Writer

President Hage Geingob said that no journalist would be arrested or detained based on their work as long as he is the President of the Namibian Republic.

Geingob said this on Friday when he participated in a virtual Summit for Democracy attended by US President Joe Biden and several heads of state and Governments.

The Summit for Democracy is a virtual summit hosted by the United States “to renew democracy at home and confront autocracies abroad”.

The 2021 summit had three themes: defending against authoritarianism, addressing and fighting corruption, and advancing respect for human rights.

Namibia was one of the African countries alongside Botswana, DRC, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, South Africa and Zambia that participated in the summit.

All in all, 111 countries took part in the summit over two days – 9 – 10 December 2021.

Geingob told the summit that he has “unequivocally expressed the irrevocable commitment of the Namibian Government to media freedom by stating that, as long as I am the President of the Namibian Republic, no journalist will be arrested or detained on the basis of their work.”

“Testament to Namibia’s commitment and practice in maintaining an excellent record of media freedom for the past 31 years, the World Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders ranks Namibia as number one in Africa and this year, the 24th globally with the freest media environment,” Geingob said.

The President also said that freedom of speech, association, and movement is enshrined in our Constitution. 

“We are a nation absent of political prisoners, and our commitment towards political, religious and media freedom remains resolute,” he said.

According to Geingob, Namibia’s judiciary forms the bedrock of the country’s governance architecture, and the people view judicial independence as sacrosanct.

Namibia, Geingob further said, is a nation founded on the principles of democracy, the rule of law and justice for all. 

He told the summit that since gaining independence, one of the most important priorities of the Namibian Government had been the creation and establishment of an institutional framework necessary for democratic governance.

“Over the past 31 years, we have held seven free and fair elections and I am the third democratically elected President of our country in this short space of time, serving my second and final term,” he said.

The President also said is a clear national political will of zero tolerance towards corruption, and Namibia has put adequate measures and established independent institutions to fight corruption.

“Recently, and in addition to a wide-ranging Prevention of Organized Crime Act, 29 of 2004, a Whistleblowers Protection Act was promulgated to enhance our effectiveness in fighting corruption,” he said. 

Since true democratic freedom is impossible without economic equity, Geinob said his administration had prioritised poverty eradication, gender equality, and broad-based economic development as enablers of shared prosperity. 

“Only by creating a more just and equitable society will we truly ensure that our democracy delivers for the needs of our people,” he added.

Namibia, he said, Namibia stands ready to hold hands with all the world’s democracies to strengthen democracy and pull in one direction towards an inclusive, stable, peaceful and prosperous future built on respect for all citizens’ human rights and economic aspirations.

Staff Writer

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