Namibian Workers Advice Centre statement on gender-based violence

gender violence demonstration
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Violence against women is endemic in Namibia. It has led to many localised protests over the years. 

The discovery of the remains of a murdered girl in the dunes of Walvisbaai on 6 October ignited nation wide protests over the past four days. 

The project of the Namibian police and army is to establish a police state. 

During the past two years under the pretext of fighting crime the SWAPO government launched joint police army operations called Hornkranz and Kalahari. The first campaign was named after the massacre of Nama men, women and children at Hornkranz by the German Reich. The second campaign was named after the Kalahari Expedition of 1908 as the final drive in the extermination campaign of the Herero and Nama. (The final battle took place against the Nama in Botswana which saw many German casualties.) 

To put beyond doubt their intentions the SWAPO named their Fishrot company Tundavala after the southern Angolan Cliffs from which they flung Namibian refugees in the 1980’s. 

Public assembly and peaceful demonstrations are fundamental rights in Namibia. An administrative requirement in the law provides for the notification of the police of public campaigns. It is meant to allow the police to accompany any public assembly or protests in particular to regulate traffic. 

The police changed this into a self-made law that they have to give permission for public demonstrations. By this deliberate misinterpretation of the law they have more and more encroached on this fundamental right by disallowing demonstrations in their discretion. 

The nation wide protests were ignited by national anger against the unabating violence against women and the misplaced priorities of the government. 

Instead of reflecting on the critical nature and immediacy of the matter the police is shifting the issue to a non-observance of the three-day provision of the law. The so-called law and order which they demand displace the spirit of the law which shall be first and foremost the protection of the people. 

The need for police brutality and dictatorship is evident from the government’s efforts to get out of its crisis of credibility and financial bankruptcy. 

On Saturday 27 persons were arrested including four journalists. Some of the protestors and journalists were physically assaulted. 

On Sunday they were released with a warning to appear in court on Monday, yesterday, 12 October. 

When they appeared at court on Monday there were no charges. 

The protest continued and will continue against violence against women and the Government’s failure to take any action against the spiraling violence. Whilst the protests continued nationwide a further brutal murder of a young woman was reported and a 9-year old girl raped. 

While the initial aim of the protests were to demand measures aimed at taking action against the endemic murder of women and the unabating violence, the Government and police have changed it to an onslaught against the fundamental rights and freedoms of the Namibian People.

We welcome the solidarity from the South African and Nigerian communities and the West Ham Branch of the Labour Party in our struggle against violence against women.

In conclusion, the Government and the Police are invoking unconstitutional draconian colonial legislation for the repression of the rights of the Namibian Nation.