• June 6th, 2020

Farm Etiro: Breaking the law, but at what cost?

The emotionally charged chaos that last week engulfed Farm Etiro, owned by the Namibian Defence Force in Erongo Region, was regretful.
What is further regretful, perhaps even scary, is the idea that, because the nation is finding itself in extraordinary circumstances of drought, laws, such as those on trespassing and vandalism, must be set aside.
It is jaw dropping to witness suggestions that civilised engagement – such as farmers asking army leaders to allow their livestock on such property for grazing – is no longer required.
There is no doubt that indeed the prevailing drought is unprecedented. Also in fairness, government’s drought relief interventions, especially those targeted at saving livestock, have been slow to reach desperate farmers.
But be that as it may, there is absolutely no justification to resort to anarchy and lawlessness, as seen at Farm Etiro.
NDF acting chief, Air Marshal Martin Pinehas narrated the chilling details of how desperate, but also anarchist, farmers started cutting the fence of the farm in order to allow their animals onto the property for grazing.
There exists no justification in the world to vandalise state property this way.
The money required to fix this fence, no matter the amount, belongs to all citizens and when it is taken away – to patch up the consequences of this barbarism – the effect of such spending affects all citizens.
We often moan about high amounts of the national budget being allocated to defence. This may sound a far-fetched assertion but to fix a fence of a farm would require money from the defence allocation – assuming there is still something left in the kitty.
What would have been ideal was for farmers, through an organised structure of representation, to engage the army on possible use of the farm for grazing.
When farmers show up individually, each with their own flock of cattle, it is uncivilised and disorderly.
When disorder or civil unrest occurs, law enforcement agencies and those whose assets are targeted would turn to the law for guidance. 
It is thus critically important that, while it is true that everyone is desperate to keep afloat in these tough times, law and order must still reign supreme.
If authorities willfully allow law to be broken in Erongo, the residents of all other 13 regions would demand that they too be allowed to break the law. And then what? What would follow, naturally, is a state of disorder due to absence or non-recognition of authority or other controlling systems – basically anarchy.
Lawlessness breeds anarchy. Anarchy breeds chaos. And with chaos expect seeing gangs fighting in the streets, looting and rioting – with no police in sight to help end the madness. That’s not the country we must aspire to live in, even during heightened drought. Even famine would not justify this.
When anarchy prevails, hierarchy fails. We cannot divorce from the ver
system we have worked so hard for – a system of the rule of law.
Government can be asked to be flexible, but not in a manner that breaks the laws it is supposed to be enforcing. 

Staff Reporter
2019-07-19 09:42:06 | 10 months ago

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