|Using Nampol to camouflage incompetence|
|Written by Nghidipo Nangolo|
|Wednesday, 11 July 2012 21:52|
It’s a pity that in an independent Namibia the citizens are unable to demonstrate freely or express their views without being tear-gassed, assaulted, jailed or moved by force.Of late the Namibian Police (Nampol) has been rather heavy-handed in dealing with demonstrations of public discontent. The most notable example of police brutality occurred last year when 2000 taxi drivers demonstrated against heavy traffic fines. Some drivers were badly injured and others locked up.
This week the world saw how Nampol is being misused by politicians who have failed the country and its youth by not ensuring the delivery of basic amenities and opportunities to all citizens. When armed officers in full riot-gear brutally forced the so-called ‘struggle kids’ to move from the Swapo headquarters on Monday afternoon, it clearly showed that our national security and protection force have not yet matured into a noble force that upholds human rights. Beyond the application of brutal force they are not providing real security, a tendency that ruling party leaders claim to have fought against.
Unfortunately the police are exhibiting a narrow parochial mindset by using brutal force against unarmed, confused and misguided youth and may actually be violating the citizens’ constitutional right to peaceful protest. In any independent republic, reasoning and respect for human rights, with the aim of finding solutions to the social crises affecting the unskilled, unemployed, dazed and downtrodden youth, is key to both economic and social prosperity. Instead of sending the police to batter the youth, government needs to invest in youth training and civilian national service programmes, in collaboration with the business sector.
The unreasonable demands and notion of entitlement tostate resources that should ideally be utilised by all Namibians, irrespective of where they were born, should be blamed on politicians who ritually utter empty promises and senseless hate speech. They encourage irrational radicalism among the youth, who feel entitled to jobs and money, merely because they were born in exile.
The so-called struggle kids should be aware of the struggles of their fellow youth, who are also homeless and eating from dumpsites, with little or no prospects for education, vocational training or permanent jobs. All of the youth are in this predicament, but the demands of some of the so-called ‘struggle-kids’, should be perceived as a serious attempt to extort public funds. They cannot prove that the youth born in the belly of the beast suffered less than the youth born in exile.
It’s a pity that the system is so cruel against the youth that have not succeeded in formal tertiary education, as they are often easily manipulated by unscrupulous politicians. Born in exile or not, the youth need urgent programmes and assistance to achieve a happy and dignified existence.
The police are not mandated to tackle socio-economic problems, that is the domain of elected officials: Nampol should perhaps rather start investigating unfulfilled promises made by politicians and hold them accountable for telling lies. There is a plausible way out for the national force to defend its neutrality and protect such an important institution from politicians who resort to indirect violence against peaceful citizens who are simply demanding their right to a decent life.
Nampol should also urgently act against the illegal fencing of communal land by high-ranking officials, must destroy illegal fences and remove the suspected culprits, as eagerly as they did with the demolition of so-called illegal shacks and closing of shebeens recently.
Nampol must remain a national force, not a private security company resembling mercenaries who act on the whims of unscrupulous politicians.