WINDHOEK - The Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) has come out guns blazing at the police, saying several unresolved murder cases have reached a dead-end point due to the incompetence of police detectives.
PDM treasurer general Nico Smit said at a press conference on Monday that the recent murder of Cheryl Avihe Ujaha, 9, is the eighth of its kind that remains unsolved and it points to two things: the complete incompetence of the police and the possibility there is a serial killer at work in the country.
“The police have the services of the state-of-the-art forensic department that can visit a crime scene, collect and process all available evidence, but if there are no detectives with the necessary energy, perseverance and skills to actually use this forensic information to investigate the events surrounding the murder, we end up with these unresolved cases,” said Smit.
He listed some of the prominent unresolved cases such as the murders of Magdalena Stoffels, Natangwe Shikoyeni, Sana //Garoës, Melanie Janse, Juanita Mabula and Viola Swartbooi – “but there could be more cases”.
Namibian Police Force Inspector-General Sebastian Ndeitunga could not be reached for comment on the allegations of police incompetence as alluded to by Smit.
Khomas regional commander Commissioner Sylvanus Nghishidimbwa told New Era the issue is being addressed and he is not in a position to comment.
In addition, Smit said regarding the incompetence and sheer lack of skills, energy and persistence of the police, PDM is convinced that there are no well-trained and competent detectives in the police force who can solve cases that actually require real investigation.
Smit added that there have been enough reports in the media about large numbers of criminal cases that have to be withdrawn by the courts due to poor police investigations, and of dockets disappearing so that possible criminals cannot be tried. “All this points the finger at a lack of competence and training and it is time to do something decisive about reducing crime in Namibia and keeping our girls and women safe,” said the outspoken opposition politician.
Smit said the fact the police seem to think that their only job is to ask the public to provide information (as in Cheryl’s case) that will lead to an arrest, but this should be their last resort, meanins that this case will probably join the aforementioned list of unresolved murders in a few months’ time.
“It is their job to investigate every crime and not to simply pass the buck to the public and then go on to something easy like arresting someone who is found standing over a body with a knife in his/her hand,” he said.