Court shoots down NamRights

NamRights has described the court decision as shocking and its executive director Phil Ya Nangoloh vowed to appeal the “diehard ruling on child weddings”.

11 December 2019 | Justice

NamRights says it will “leave no stone unturned” in its bid to have a High Court ruling overturned, which said that the human rights organisation has no legal standing to approach the court to have the Olufuko festival banned.

On Friday, acting High Court judge Collins Parker dismissed the application brought by NamRights executive director Phil Ya Nangoloh for lack of legal standing.

The judge ordered NamRights to pay the costs of the four respondents who had opposed the matter - the government, the Ombalantu and Ombadja traditional authorities and former president Sam Nujoma.

Nujoma, the festival's patron, oversaw the official opening of the event in August.

Shortly after the ruling was handed down a NamRights media statement described the decision as shocking and Ya Nangoloh vowed to appeal the “diehard ruling on child weddings”.

NamRights said it will “leave no stone unturned” to have the ruling overturned.

It said the judgment is “destined to send shockwaves among women's rights groups, human rights lawyers, judges and legal experts around the world as well as the Law Reform and Development Commission of Namibia”.

NamRights previously stated that Olufuko is a harmful cultural practice that holds no value in terms of culture and tradition.

The organisation warned that the festival resembles a “trade fair where [children] are paraded in what can only be described as a strip show”.

“It is against the law and promotes patriarchy and is used to make women submissive.”

Ya Nangolo said the parading of half-naked girl children takes place without their consent and is contrary to Namibia's contemporary, civil, cultural, political and social customs and practices.


In his judgment Parker said NamRights, legally represented by Ya Nangoloh, had brought the application “on behalf of some nameless, phantom girl children who are not over the age of 18”.

The judge said NamRights had not placed “one iota of evidence before the court to explain the nature of the relationship the applicant has with the parents or guardians of the girl children and why those parents or guardians are unable to approach the court themselves for relief”.

Parker dismissed ya Nangoloh's argument that as a human rights organisation NamRights has the necessary legal standing to bring the case.

The judge said only persons directly involved in the matter are legally entitled to bring an application against the festival.

Ya Nangoloh on Friday said NamRights “at no point” claimed it acted on behalf of “the victims of Olufuko”.

Bad rites

He said the organisation believes that government's participation in “those child weddings are unconstitutional and it violates the fundamental human rights and freedoms guaranteed under Chapter 3 of the Namibian Constitution”.

Ya Nangoloh said Parker had erred in law in his judgment and underlined that NamRights believes “such child wedding are unconstitutional”.

Parker on Friday said that the festival, which was revived in 2012, is a “rite of passage for girl children once they have experienced their first menstrual period”.

The judge said the practice was intended to “transition girl children to adulthood”, and like similar initiation rites on the continent, “is a traditional custom at the centre of preserving a girl child's sexual identity, self-respect and family honour”.

The judge added that the Olufuko festival “promotes proper sex education and discourages sexual encounters by girls before they are mature and responsible”.


Similar News


Child-friendly justice in the spotlight

2 days ago - 29 September 2020 | Justice

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKThe Day of the Namibian Child was celebrated yesterday and reflected on challenges faced by children who find themselves in conflict with the law.It...

Rape bail application ruling delayed

2 days ago - 29 September 2020 | Justice

Kenya KamboweNDIYONAThe bail ruling of Johannes Kativa (38), who stands accused of raping a 31-year-old teacher from Guma village in the Kavango East Region, has...

Likuwa to stew in wife-beating allegations

3 days ago - 28 September 2020 | Justice

KENYA KAMBOWE NDIYONA Swapo's Ndiyona constituency councillor, Eugene Likuwa, will have to wait until next year for the Ndiyona Periodic...

'Wife stealer' dealt court blow

6 days ago - 25 September 2020 | Justice

Kenya KamboweNDIYONA An alleged serial wife stealer has been dealt a blow by the justice system after an assault case he reported against...

Bottleneck killer pleads guilty

6 days ago - 25 September 2020 | Justice

ADOLF KAURESWAKOPMUNDMurder accused Showen van Wyk (26) pleaded guilty when he made his first appearance before the Swakopmund Magistrate's Court on Tuesday.Van Wyk admitted his...

Covid delays Möller murder trial

1 week ago - 22 September 2020 | Justice

ERWIN LEUSCHNERSWAKOPMUNDThe start of the murder trial of the five men accused of murdering Walvis Bay businessman Hans-Jörg Möller in 2016 has been delayed until...

Gertze's attempted murder case withdrawn

1 week ago - 18 September 2020 | Justice

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKNamibia Qualifications Authority (NQA) CEO Franz Gertze is off the hook after the Office of the Prosecutor-General declined to prosecute him for a shooting...

Estate agent guilty of stealing Congolese general's money

2 weeks ago - 16 September 2020 | Justice

JANA-MARI SMITHWINDHOEKA Swakopmund estate agent accused of stealing US$900 000 (N$6.7 million) from a Democratic Republic of Congo military general ten years ago has been...

Fishrot 7 could be released

2 weeks ago - 15 September 2020 | Justice

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKA magistrate yesterday thinly suggested the court might have no further reason to keep the Fishrot accused in custody if investigators do not wrap...

Masule ruling on 28 September

2 weeks ago - 11 September 2020 | Justice

JEMIMA BEUKES WINDHOEKGovernment attorneys yesterday argued that the High Court does not have the jurisdiction to hear the urgent application brought by Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC)...

Latest News

Uutoni has final say on...

7 hours ago | Government

KENYA KAMBOWERUNDUUrban and rural development minister Erastus Uutoni will have the last say as to whether 83.1738 hectares of land at Divundu in the Kavango...

Govt spends N$2.3bn to buy...

7 hours ago | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKThe government has spent N$2.3 billion on the acquisition of 558 farms measuring 3.4 million hectares to resettle landless Namibians to date.The government started...

Youth must stand up and...

7 hours ago | Opinion

Young Namibians have historically been the torchbearers of every revolution we have come to experience.In fact, that’s the story everywhere in Africa. Nelson Mandela, Yoweri...

Snared Etosha elephant calf rescued

7 hours ago | Environment

FRANCOISE STEYNBERGWINDHOEKAn elephant calf that was spotted near Namutoni in the Etosha National Park with a wire snare cutting deep into the flesh of its...

Six arrested for wildlife crimes

7 hours ago | Crime

ELLANIE SMITWINDHOEKSix suspects have been arrested in connection with wildlife crimes and two new cases were registered last week.Three of the suspects were arrested for...

Swapo processes under fire

7 hours ago | Politics

OTIS FINCKWALVIS BAYAccording to an aggrieved group, Swapo leaders assigned to the Erongo Region baffled members in the districts by pushing through disputed candidate nominations...

A shared future for the...

7 hours ago | Opinion

ZHANG YIMINGToday marks the 71st anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China as well as the Chinese traditional Mid-Autumn Festival (Moon Festival)....

Matjila, Fillemon crowned gaming kings

7 hours ago | Sports

Jesse Jackson Kauraisa WINDHOEK Namibian gamers Rashaad Matjila and Matias Fillemon have been selected as the country's e-sports national team players...

BA's power tussles continue

7 hours ago | Sports

Limba Mupetami WINDHOEK Infighting within Black Africa's (BA) ranks continues, with the interim committee and supporters of the community club clashing on whether...

Load More