Zimbabwe, Namibia sign accords

The first memorandum of understanding on Mutual Legal Assistance, which was signed by the Minister of Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa and his Namibian counterpart Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana seeks to enhance co-operation in the fight against crime in the two countries.

The extradition treaty was signed by the Acting Minister of Home Affairs Nicholas Goche and will also be instrumental in the fight against national and transnational crimes.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Chinamasa said the signing of the agreements would mark a turning point in the history of the two nations and would further strengthen relations.

“Namibia and Zimbabwe enjoy excellent relations and these date back to the liberation struggle and have continued. We are an elder brother and we want to cement our relations,” Chinamasa said.

He also said he had had fruitful discussions with his Namibian counterpart and the two countries were expected to co-operate in other areas such as the exchange of information and legal personnel.

“So we are very happy these consultations have culminated with the agreements. The agreements will mark a very special turning point in our history. This is a beginning of many things to come,” he said.

Also speaking Goche said the signing of the extradition treaty was in line with the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) protocol on extradition that was signed in 2002 in Angola.

“The Governments of Zimbabwe and Namibia have agreed to enter into this treaty on extradition. Zimbabwe has since independence entered into similar treaties with some of its Sadc partners and will continue to extend this arrangement to other countries and the world and bring to book those who perpetrate crimes,” he said.

This, Goche added, would give Zimbabwe and Namibia an obligation to extradite, upon request any person who is wanted in either country for prosecution for an offence or for the imposition of a sentence for such offence.

Iivula-Ithana concurred with the two ministers and said: “As links between Namibia and Zimbabwe continue to grow, these treaties will become very useful tools in combating crime in our respective countries. In our quest to leave in harmony with one another we must ensure that we provide an effective delivery of justice to our society by bringing criminals to book.”

She also said the protection of citizens and the maintenance peace and public order was an important goal of all nations.

“Criminals have access to enhanced methods of communication and travel through which they can flee from arrest and prosecution in one State and conceal the evidence and profits of their crimes,” she said. She said that the signing of the treaties had come at a time when the world was facing challenges of terrorism.

“Terrorists and international criminals of all kinds represent a tremendous challenge and threat to our systems of governance and yet we can be certain that the forces of crime will not prevail if we are able to work together,” she said.

“The 21st century is posing new security challenges which also have little respect for national borders. International terrorism, including bio terrorism, global pandemics, cyber crime, energy threats . . . in all these areas it is difficult for individual nations even the most powerful ones to respond effectively on their own.”

Iivula-Ithana also noted that the strong relations between Zimbabwe and Namibia should be enhanced.

“I am aware that Zimbabwe and Namibia are co-operating well in a number of other areas such as trade, tourism and health.

“The co-operation shows the commitment of our Governments to improve the lives of our citizens at all levels of mutual concern,” she said.

Also present at the singing ceremony was Namibia’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe Kakena Nagula, senior Government officials and officials from the Ministry of Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.

The Namibian minister also had a chance to tour farms in Zimbabwe’s Mashonaland Central and Manicaland provinces to assess progress of the land reform.

July 2006
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