• July 12th, 2020

No blurring mandates between NDF and police - Vilho

Defence ministry executive director Peter Hafeni Vilho has hit back on allegations levelled against the Namibian Defence Force (NDF) by the Society of Advocates of Namibia that there is blurring of mandates with the Namibian Police.

This is after president of the society of advocates of Namibia Gerson Narib issued a statement concerning alleged “threats made by individuals against the state” and “the security situation in the country after 2019 Presidential and National Assembly elections”. 

Society of Advocates of Namibia argued that the actions of the NDF are blurring the mandates of the military and the police.

However, the defence ministry hit back that this is not an accurate interpretation of the functions of the military versus the police.

Narib said, constitutionally, the NDF is established by the Act of Parliament to defend the territory and national interests of Namibia, adding the Namibian Police Force is similarly established by Act of Parliament to secure the internal security of Namibia and maintain law and order.

Narib argued these important and distinguishable constitutional mandates must not become blurred. 
“It is not the ordinary function of the Namibian Defence Force to secure the internal security of Namibia or to maintain law and order. The use of the Namibian Defence Force (including any portion or member thereof) for police functions such as the preservation of the internal security of Namibia; the maintenance of law and order; the investigation of any offence or alleged offence; the prevention of crime; and the protection of life and property, can and may only occur as prescribed in terms of the applicable provisions of the Defence Act 1 of 2002 and is, and should not be, the norm,” Narib reasoned. In response, Vilho yesterday said there is no blurring of mandates. 

Vilho remarked that the statement by the Society of Advocates is, therefore, irresponsible and may even appear to be a covert incitement to violence and lawlessness. 

He noted the uninformed might interpret it to mean the NDF is constrained by the constitution and the Defence Act to act against would-be perpetrators of such violence. 

“If that were the case, the NDF wouldn’t have acted against the Caprivi Secessionists nor would it deploy troops in antipoaching operations or national emergencies,” Vilho contended. 
He explained the Defence Act and Police Act are complimentary, as they relate to the requirements for the security and stability of the state. 

He said the security and stability of the state operate at the various levels such as strategic, operational and tactical. 

According to Vilho, the period in the run up to the national elections of 2019 was characterised by incidences of threats of a tactical and operational nature. He defended that Operation Kalahari is tactical in nature hence the involvement of the military at the request of the police.

However, he said, towards the end of October and the whole of November 2019, there were sections of the population who, for reasons unknown, were threatening to render the country ungovernable by advocating and agitating for the destruction of government and individual properties, as well as threatening the lives of individual citizens.

“Those type of threats were at the operational level and, therefore, led to a proactive stance by the military. That was the basis for the media releases warning against any violent conduct aimed at making the country ungovernable and thus negating its security and stability – and that warning still stands. For the Namibian Defence Force, ‘Prevention is better than cure’ and law-abiding citizens have nothing to fear,” Vilho reacted. 

He maintained a balanced statement from the Society of Advocates should have warned those sections of the public not to make statements or take actions that are tantamount to violating the law and, therefore, lead to a confrontation with the security forces. 

“Such a statement should not have misrepresented our duties as guarantors of the security and stability of a democratic Namibia governed by the people through their elected representatives,” Vilho stated. 

Albertina Nakale
2020-02-04 07:27:13 | 5 months ago

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