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Legal architect of the Namibian Constitution dies

Legal architect of the Namibian Constitution dies

Professor Marinus Wiechers, the chief architect behind the Namibian Constitution crafted by the Constitutional Committee in a record 80 days at the beginning of 1990, died last Friday evening, 31 August, in a hospice in Pretoria. Prof Wiechers was 81 years old

From around 1987, Prof Wiechers was a frequent visitor to Namibia, assisting with and advising on the consultative process that started in that year which would eventually lead to the democratic independence elections of early December 1989. After the elections, the 72-member Constitutional Assembly started work on the process to put together the document that would become Namibia’s Constitution. The working group was later reduced to 21 individuals nominated by their parties to expedite the work. In this process, Prof Wiechers was the main consultant, advising on elements of the constitution, its drafting and its legal implications.

Early in the process, SWAPO’s submission for a constitution was adopted as the working document, and the committee only had to discuss those areas where differences surfaced. This process was facilitated throughout by Wiechers, already then an internationally recognised authority on constitutional law.

Professer Wiechers taught constitutional and international law at the University of South Africa for almost forty years. In his last years as an academic before his retirement in 1998, he was the vice chancellor and principal of the university.

When talking about his role in drafting the Namibian Constitution, he often referred to the need to reconcile legality and legitimacy. This theme was echoed some twenty years after Independence in a publication commissioned by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and edited by Tony Boesl together with local academics Nico Horn and André du Pisane. Professor Wiechers also contributed a chapter to this commemorative academic paper.

Commenting on the constitutional process and Wiechers’ contribution, Professor Peter Katjavivi, wrote “The Namibian Constitution is regarded as one of the most modern and progressive basic laws worldwide, with constitutional principles, a bill of rights, the separation of powers, and democratic order. After 20 years, Namibia’s constitutional democracy is formally fully established. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land and the normative guideline for the entire citizenry and its government.”


 

About The Author

Daniel Steinmann

Brief CV of Daniel Steinmann. Born 24 February 1961, Johannesburg. Educated at the University of Pretoria: BA, BA(hons), BD. Postgraduate degrees are in Philosophy and Divinity. Editor of the Namibia Economist since 1991. Daniel Steinmann has steered the Economist as editor for the past 29 years. The Economist started as a monthly free-sheet, then moved to a weekly paper edition (1996 to 2016), and on 01 December 2016 to a daily digital newspaper at www.economist.com.na. It is the first Namibian newspaper to go fully digital. Daniel Steinmann is an authority on macro-economics having established a sound record of budget analysis, strategic planning and assessing the impact of policy formulation. For eight years, he hosted a weekly talk-show on NBC Radio, explaining complex economic concepts to a lay audience in a relaxed, conversational manner. He was a founding member of the Editors' Forum of Namibia. Over the years, he has mentored hundreds of journalism students as interns and as young professional jourlists. He regularly helps economics students, both graduate and post-graduate, to prepare for examinations and moderator reviews. He is the Namibian respondent for the World Economic Survey conducted every quarter for the Ifo Center for Business Cycle Analysis and Surveys at the University of Munich in Germany. He is frequently consulted by NGOs and international analysts on local economic trends and developments. Send comments to daniel@economist.com.na

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia

Promotion

20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.