OMUNTELE – Some Namibian men are reportedly shying away from applying for child support against mothers defaulting on their maintenance obligations.
Fathers are reluctant to apply for support due to stereotypes and societal shame, according to the Oshikoto region’s senior gender equality official Petrus Kuutondokwa. The Maintenance Act 9 of 2003 allows men to apply for child support if the mother of the child is failing to offer support.
“This Act allows all parties to apply for maintenance if one is not playing their roles. Men, however, tend not to apply because they fear to be mocked and ridiculed. Things have changed now as we have specified units that deal with such cases, including gender-based violence,” said Kuutondokwa.
He was responding to questions posed by Sem Kateta during a Regional Youth Forum meeting held at Omuntele on Friday.
Kateta wanted to know why the law seemed to lean more towards women than to men, as he wondered whether there were indeed such avenues.
Despite some men showing reluctance to claim child support, some fathers, especially those who are unemployed, have been courageous enough to demand child maintenance.
In 2016, New Era reported that out of the 730 new cases opened for child maintenance in the Katutura Magistrate’s Court alone, close to 10 cases were opened by men seeking child support from the mothers of their children.
Meanwhile, the meeting was part of the ongoing Oshikoto Youth Forum’s programme to celebrate the 14th National Youth Day, which was decentralised to various constituencies. A similar meeting was held in Omuthiya on the same day.
Oshikoto decided to roll out the programme to grassroots level, instead of just having a once-off event.
The region seeks to raise about N$100 000 to start constructing a multipurpose centre in order to provide space to up-and-coming entrepreneurs to conduct business. The forum’s chairperson, Martin Antindi, took this bold decision, saying it was not practically fine to celebrate Youth Day by merely giving young people a drink and bread, as it doesn’t provide any meaningful contribution to their future.
Since the theme of the Youth Week was ‘Youth Ignites Zero Tolerance Against Gender-Based Violence’, Kuutondokwa further extended a message of awareness that people should introspect on the yesteryear living standards when crimes related to intimate relationships were fewer.
“It is time we relook the past, and figure out what could be the root causes of these passion killings and GBV cases that have been rising in recent years.
We are saying old people were uncivilised, but now with us who have civilisation and a good education system, things are turning sideways. Why?” questioned Kuutondokwa. He also implored men to report GBV cases against them.