The Ohangwena Police registered 697 gender-based violence cases last year, with rape and assault by close family members featuring prominently.
“Out of 697 registered cases, 414 suspected are apprehended, which shows Ohangwena police is fighting against crime in the region,” said police spokesperson Kaume Itumba. He stated the most painful and disturbing part of these gender-related crimes is that they are committed by close relatives and sometimes by unregistered domestic workers. “Grandfathers, fathers, uncles and cousins, who are supposed to be the protectors of these women and girls, have turned out to be their cause of harm,” said Itumba. He also noted that most the domestic workers from Angola, with no legal documents, are appointed – and those employers do not know where exactly they came from and their real names.
“If they commit crimes, they run to their country, and it will be hard to find them, since they gave fake names,” he explained.
Itumba revealed this during a recent meeting held to fight against drugs at Ongenga village in Ohangwena region.
The meeting was organised to combat and reduce crime committed against women and children, enhance cooperation between the police and its stakeholders in the fight against GBV and related crimes, as well as to develop risk profiles of targeted crime types.
During the meeting, Itumba said the figures were indeed high and quite shocking, with violent crimes, such as rape, assault and drug abuse among pupils, being some of the trends.
Officials say drug abuse among pupils has become a worrying phenomenon in the region.
Miriam Martin says her child’s behaviour deteriorated after he started using drugs.
The 19-year boy dropped out of school because of drugs.
“People who are selling drugs are destroying our kids’ futures. My child is in jail after he dropped out of school last September,” narrated Martin.
She further said her boy was very smart. “He used to pass with flying colours. I don’t think he will ever get well,” she said.
She added that something serious must be done to eliminate the selling of drugs. A former teacher at Ongenga Junior Secondary School Erastus Mutuleni said the biggest problem he has seen from the community is that school children are drug dealers.
They spend most of their time getting involved in these illegal activities, and they do not have time to concentrate on their schoolwork.
He said, although he does not understand the reasons that might push young people into illegal dealings, he does not condone any illegal activities.
“I have observed and learnt that small children are exposed to drugs – even in villages, these children start smoking at a very young age, and this must come to an end,” further elaborated the former teacher.
He said parents need to get their acts together and take full responsibility for their children so that they can focus solely on their schoolwork.
A member of the Ongenga constituency development committee, Daniel Kleopas, urged the communities to develop a culture of working together and reporting drug dealers.
“I think communities should start with demonstrations to give clear indication that what drug dealers are doing is wrong,” he added.
Martha Namhadi, the founder of the Fighting Against Drug Abuse movement in the village, said she called the meeting with the community, headmen as well as police to discuss how they can work together to eliminate drugs from their village.
“This movement will continue to work together with the police and the community to fight against drugs in our village Ongenga,” she said.