Shanghala becomes law reform chiefBy: WERNER MENGES
NAMIBIA’S Law Reform and Development Commission again has a full-time chairperson for the first time in more than six years, after lawyer Sacky Shanghala, the long-serving special advisor of the Attorney General, was appointed to the post.
Shanghala has been appointed as chairperson of the Law Reform and Development Commission with effect from November 9. He has been appointed for a five-year term. The Law Reform and Development Commission Act of 1991 states that a chairperson can be reappointed to the post after his five-year term has ended.
The last full-time chairperson of the Commission was current Foreign Affairs Minister Utoni Nujoma, before he was elected as a National Assembly Member in 2004 and appointed as Deputy Minister of Justice the following year.
Shanghala (33) has been the special advisor to the Attorney General since late 2001. Before that, he was working as an aide to then Prime Minister Hage Geingob for three years.
Shanghala is a graduate of the University of Namibia, where he obtained B. Juris and LL.B. Degrees in 1998 and 2000 respectively.
The Law Reform and Development Commission’s functions include conducting research on all branches of the law in Namibia and making recommendations on the reform and development of the law. The Act specifies that its recommendations can include advice on the repeal of obsolete or unnecessary laws in force in Namibia, on the amendment of laws to enhance respect for human rights or to ensure that Namibia meets international legal obligations, and on new or more effective procedures for the administration of the law and the dispensing of justice.
The Act also states that the chairperson of the Commission may not be engaged in any other paid employment or occupation while serving on the Commission.
Shanghala, who has business interests, said yesterday that he is resigning from director’s positions in companies in which he has been involved up to his appointment. He is also turning over his business shareholdings to a family trust, which will be administered by other people, he said.
On his political activities – Shanghala is the Swapo Party Youth League’s current Secretary for Labour and Justice – he said he is in discussions with his political colleagues over how his new appointment would affect that position.
The Commission is supposed to be an independent body, he said, and his duty would have to be to the law that established the Commission.
“Whatever position I hold,” Shanghala said, “I believe that we can’t eschew the interests of justice, of the office, for any one given political party interest.”
He added that he wants his tenure at the Commission to be characterised by public consultation as the Commission carries out its duty to help reform and develop Namibia’s laws.
The other members of the Commission are Namibia’s Ombudsman, John Walters, lawyers Dianne Hubbard, Nixon Marcus, Ray Rukoro and Damoline Muroko, Ministry of Justice legal drafter Michael Frindt, University of Namibia law lecturer Fritz Nghiishililwa, and the Commission’s Secretary, Tousy Namiseb.