Aupindi backs stiffer sentences for rapists

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Aupindi backs stiffer sentences for rapists

Swapo backbencher Tobie Aupindi has endorsed the proposal by the Ministry of Justice to increase sentences for sexual violence convicts. 

According to Aupindi, Namibia should honour the pledge to protect women and children so they may live freely and safely to participate equally in political, economic, and public life. 

“Historically, it has been recorded that the number one cause to women injuries and mayhem, is at the hands of men, not a lion, not a snake, but men. Records show that we are the worst thing that ever happened to women,” Aupindi said in the National Assembly last week. 

He indicated in Namibia, one can get a stiffer sentence by stealing a cow than by raping a woman. 

The amended Stock Theft Act prescribes a minimum of 20 years in jail for offenders for theft of livestock over the value of N$500. 

Repeat offenders face up to 30 years imprisonment without the option of a fine. 

This, he said, can be viewed as the nation having a deeper love for animals than women and children. 

“If indeed we want to protect society, I am suggesting this August House to at least equate the sentences of convicted rape offenders to that of stock theft, as prescribed in the Stock Theft Act,” argued Aupindi. 

In February, justice minister Yvonne Dausab tabled the Combating of Rape Amendment Bill in the August House. 

The Bill proposes an increase in the sentences imposed on first-time rape offenders from a minimum of five years to 10 years imprisonment. 

However, repeated rape offenders face jail time of up to 20 years and not 10 years as it currently stands. 

The sentences increase depending on the circumstances surrounding the offence. 

For rape committed under coercive circumstances, perpetrators will now receive a minimum prison term of 15 years and not 10 years as it was before.

Those convicted of rape where the victim suffered grievous bodily harm, mental harm and where the victim is under the age of 13, the perpetrator faces up to 20 years imprisonment and not a minimum of 15 years. 

The Bill also provides an additional ground for coercive circumstances for rape, which would include but is not limited to the abuse of power or authority, where the person in respect of whom the sexual act is committed is inhibited from indicating his or her resistance to that act or their unwillingness to participate in that act. 

The amendments will now include exceptionally vulnerable complainants referred to in the Combating of Rape Act, 2000 and will include persons with mental or physical disabilities and any other reasons. 

In addition to the amendments, the ministry is busy with consultation on establishing the sex offenders’ register.