Namibia has a democratic constitution which guarantees the rights of its citizens as well as other people.
Among these rights are those which are in the provisions of that constitution which enable each one and all persons to express their views on all issues of their concern without fear of intimidation not only by other citizens but also by state bodies. The freedom of speech is one of these fundamental rights. As a citizen of Namibia I am happy and proud that my country has such a democratic constitution which protects the freedom of expression.
However, all the people have to exercise these rights responsibly, diligently and fairly. Unfortunately there seems to be some people who have false beliefs and perceptions that the freedom of speech and expression gives them the right to insult and make comments which can offend others.
Such belief is totally unfair, illogical and also dramatically opposed to the constitutional principle of freedom of speech and right of expression. We cannot insult others and claim that we are expressing our constitutional rights, since the constitution cannot sanction insulting others.
What comes to mind is the insulting placard which was carried by someone during the recent demonstration which took place at the venue of the 2nd National Land Conference where it was written “Voetsek, Geingob Voetsek”, an expression which is only used to chase away unwanted dogs.
Such a placard was not only seen as an insult but was indeed disrespectful to the president of the country.
It is, indeed, the right of the people of our country to demonstrate and show their unhappiness and protest against authority.
However, all those must be done within the four corners of the law. Even if you don’t like a person there is no need to insult such a person. If there is ever any evidence needed to prove that the otherwise good and democratic constitution may be abused, it is the unwanted and not appropriate and insulting public utterances by some people against others.
To be engaged in conduct unbecoming to respectable political figures may just jeopardize our ability to sit side by side, reach consensus and work together for the benefit of our country and its people.
Rudeness and disrespectful behaviour can only promote undesirable tension among our people and can lead to devastating political turmoil on the peace and stability of our nation. If we do not respect each other and keep undermining and abusing others the body politic of the country will be in tatters and that may lead to anger, violence and hatred.
Our political behaviour must always be an unequivocal compass which will direct us all towards a prosperous country in which we totally refuse to accept disunity and in which we are joined together as a political unit with shared aims and objectives.
We should recognize the fact that respect for the dignity of individual person is the obligation of all of us and cannot and should not be defined by a position one holds in the society or his\her race, colour or gender. Therefore if there seem to be conflicts between groups or individuals the resolution of such conflicts must be dealt with in a respectful and peaceful manner rather than resorting to insults and violent actions. A person must always respect the feelings of others and control his temper.
Let me end by quoting Sant Chanchal Sing who said: “If you want to be respected, you must respect others. If you want to control others, you must learn to control yourself. If you want friends, be friendly. If you want justice, be fair with others. If you want courtesy, be courteous. If you want to be strong, be quiet, but unafraid. If you want to keep your character, keep good company or none. If you want to be popular, never say an unkind word about anyone.”
Dr Ngarikutuke Tjiriange
New Era Reporter
2018-11-16 09:46:39 7 months ago