RUNDU - The Popular Democratic Movement has called on Cabinet not to consider introducing mandatory Covid-19 vaccination.
“As the PDM, we have a duty to defend the people of Namibia where their rights are being violated by those in political power,” PDM’s justice shadow minister and parliamentarian Timotheus Shihumbu said in a statement.
“Therefore, we have to condemn any moves towards the mandatory vaccinations of the nation. The Constitution of Namibia’s Bill of Rights gives citizens fundamental freedoms which are inviolable, and those freedoms include the choice not to be forcefully vaccinated or subjected to any medical procedure against your will.”
Shihumbu noted that the National Health Act, 2 of 2015, does not give the health minister power to provide health services by force to citizens who do not want it. Therefore, he said, the government must stop forthwith with the ideas of introducing mandatory vaccination.
“We can assure you that the attorney general and minister of justice will open a can of worms and Pandora’s box which will have serious legal ramifications that shall shake the very foundation of our constitutional democracy if they go ahead with mandatory vaccination,” he said.
Justice minister Yvonne Dausab, during last week’s Covid-19 briefing at State House, hinted government would consider options, including mandatory vaccination against Covid-19 to help the country realise herd immunity.
“For the moment, we are looking at all the options, and there has been quite a bit of comparative work done. I am sure the attorney general will provide the advice required to make a determination as to which direction Namibia should take,” she was quoted by The Namibian.
Shihumbu agrees there is a need to scale up vaccination efforts. “But as the PDM, we are calling on the government to be creative and persuasive so as not to stoop low and use drastic measures, draconian strategies, scare tactics and actions that will violate the constitutional guarantees of personal freedom,” he said.
“We therefore suggest that the government come up with strategies which will improve the living conditions of the people so that the people will be persuaded and attracted to go for voluntary vaccinations in order to be protected from Covid-19.”
Meanwhile, defence minister Frans Kapofi has defended a directive for mandatory vaccination of Namibian Defence Force members, saying it is not a punishment but to look after the welfare of the troops. Soldiers have allegedly started an online petition to stop the mandatory vaccination ordered by the army recently.
“We must just accept that is it done for the good of our soldiers – and there is no need to politicise the matter. I am seeing how people are inciting soldiers to retaliate and defend themselves against their leaders,” he noted while addressing media queries during Friday’s 35th Covid-19 briefing at State House.
“There are those who are petitioning the President, and I believe they are not soldiers but people disguised as soldiers. The life of soldiers is as-is; you believe what you are told by your commander.”