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A Constructive Interpretation of the Namibian Constitution: Transposing Dworkin to Namibia’s Constitutional Jurisprudence

Kenneth Ferdie Mundia


This article aims to recommend a moral reading of the Namibian Constitution, one based on Dworkin’s theory of ‘constructive interpretation’ and ‘law as integrity’. To this end, I argue for the application of Dworkin’s theory in interpreting the Namibian Constitution. It is submitted that the attainment of social justice for all Namibians is at the heart of Namibia’s constitutional project, hence the constitutional promise of ‘securing to all our citizens justice, liberty, equality and fraternity’. This paper addresses two concerns: first, the fact that the Namibian Constitution does not include socio-economic rights- the question is how to respond to this problem. I argue that by applying Dworkin’s theory of law as integrity and, because the Constitution includes social justice as a broad principle, it would be consistent to use the Constitution to address socio-economic inequality through ‘constructive interpretation’. Secondly, the Supreme Court of Namibia has not done too well in ‘hard cases’ and its approach is inadequate for the realisation of the transformative aims of the Constitution.

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