Worldwide, our country is known as a relatively peaceful country. Of the many wonderful features and characteristics our country is well known for, the stability and peace that we have kept since our independence, is right up there on the list.
To the outside world, that reputation will precede us for a long time, but internally the very essence of what the country has worked so hard to preserve over the last two decades or so has slowly been getting torn apart lately. While to a large extent we still have that stability and peace, it’s not felt across the board.
A few months ago, a young woman was severely beaten up by the NDF, an elderly woman was also beaten in front of her house and family by the same people, on social media videos have circulated of the NDF and Namibian police beating up civilians, mostly with brutal and very unnecessary force.
The death of a young man at the hands or weapon of a member of our beloved NDF was exactly what the youth and public feared. The outcry and backlash were immediate in the media, especially from the youth on social media platforms. It left a bitter taste in the mouths of the general public, it’s one thing to keep the streets safe, but for the very same people who were supposed to keep it safe, to have them terrorise, intimidate and kill civilians on those streets, doesn’t sit well in our country.
It wasn’t long ago that walking in the streets was an extreme sport, you needed a pass and walking in certain areas always seemed to raise eyebrows. It was for these reasons amongst others that we needed independence and self-governance. It just wasn’t acceptable to be in a constant state of fear every time you left your house.
It’s unfortunate that we had to relive that in an independent country, especially from our own countrymen. The fact that the young man who was killed was not Namibian, but a fellow African brother, just isn’t right. It’s unfortunate, it’s not a positive message to send back to his country and family.
Coupled with everything currently happening in the country, we have definitely been in better shape. There is no optimism or joy being forecasted, our armed forces patrolling and roaming the streets are not helping either, they are driving and planting fear in the country. Maybe that was the objective.
*Olavi Popyeinawa has a diploma in Alternative Dispute Resolution and is currently studying law, LLB at the University of Namibia. He writes on youth matters. Find him on Instagram: niceguy_olavi, Facebook: Olavi Longfellow and Twitter: @ OlaviPoyeinawa