WINDHOEK – President Hage Geingob yesterday said the call by some to terminate Operation Kalahari Desert, due to its perceived violations of human rights, is an election ploy aimed at discrediting his administration.
Geingob said this while responding to a delegation of the National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo) who urged him during a courtesy visit to State House yesterday to cease the contentious operation. Responding to the visitors’ outcry, President Geingob said before the decision to call in the army to assist the Namibian police, the country was nearly falling apart with lawlessness – characterized by people carrying guns, killing each other and disturbing others’ peace, amongst others.
It was these myriad of ills that prompted government to take action by assembling joint operations between the army and the police.
“People were crying [about] what government was doing [about it]. “What are we going to be?” he asked.
“People create issues wherever they are. They want the country to be lawless so that they can maybe win elections, so that they can become presidents,” he said, though jokingly.
“You are not going do that, some people are doing that,” he said while looking at Nudo President Utjiua Muinjangue.
“But that’s the issue - you are saying nothing is done about lawlessness, when something is done you say don’t do it,” he added.
According to the Head of State, this is not the first time that government is calling in the army to maintain order.
“[Former] President Sam Nujoma and I did it too,” referring to the country’s first president, under whom Geingob served as prime minister for 12 years.
He said constitutionally, the army cannot arrest people but can be legally and constitutionally used as a backup force for the Namibian police.
He said Operation Kalahari Desert cannot be discontinued because of one person who was irresponsible.
He was referring to the incident last week Thursday when Zimbabwean national Talent Fambaune was shot dead, allegedly by a member of the Namibian Defence Force involved in the joint operation.
“Somebody was irresponsible, somebody who killed somebody is arrested, he is in jail, he appeared in court [on Friday]. He will appear again next month or something like that,” he said.
“If somebody misbehave, laws are there that that person must be arrested, so people were crying what is the government doing, people are being killed and so on but when government is doing something they are crying again and want us to stop the operation,” he added.
Geingob says when he heard that people were being beaten up by NDF members, something that was allegedly rife during the precursor Operation Hornkranz that has since ended, he took it upon himself to investigate the allegations.
“Yes, I am referring to the lady who has been shown [as having been assaulted],” he said.
Geingob was adamant that government is not irresponsible.
“The army cannot misbehave, the police cannot misbehave when they are beating up people. That’s a crime and they will face the law.”
“If you misbehave you are not obeying the law, you will be arrested,” he added.
“That person unfortunately who killed that person will face the law. It is wrong, but we cannot discuss that here. We send condolences to the family through the relevant institutions,” he stresses.
“The person is arrested, now you are saying all we must withdraw the operation so that you can win elections. So that you say the man [Geingob] is failing to maintain law and order,” he reiterated.
Operation Kalahari Desert was not conceived to abuse citizens but to maintain law and order, the President insisted.
“The army is our backup force, they are not supposed to shoot but human beings are human beings. The person [NDF member] is arrested,” he said.
2019-06-18 09:17:07 | 4 months ago