Former Namibian Defence Force chief Martin Shalli yesterday succumbed to pressure by issuing an apology over his comments at a Swapo rally where he had called for the slitting of Swapo defectors’ throats.
“I take this opportunity to tell my comrades and members of the Swapo party as well as any other persons who might have been offended by the statement that I have made.
I sincerely withdraw that cut-throat thing and therefore apologise to everybody whom I have offended,” Shalli said on NBC. Shalli’s comments at a Swapo rally at Okahandja drew the ire of opposition parties who laid charges against the Swapo struggle stalwart. Swapo parliamentarian Mandela Kapere had also called on Shalli to unconditionally retract his comments.
On a Facebook post, Kapere wrote: “I know Gen. Shalli to be a principled, fair and no-nonsense character of a man.
I do hope that he will make an unconditional retraction of those remarks, so as to remove any stain from his strong record of service to the Namibian people.” Swapo secretary general Sophia Shaningwa yesterday said she did not see the video clip in which Shalli made the inflammatory remarks.
She, however, said if Shalli explained himself what he meant, then the public should see it in that light.
Kapere went on to say he listened to Shalli’s video footage and it is unfortunate that he made such a statement, regardless of the context it was meant in.
Kapere said Swapo is a signatory of the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) elections code of conduct, which outlines the climate within which they should conduct elections.
Therefore, he said words uttered by Shalli run contrary to the fundamental ethos espoused within the code.
“It is more unfortunate that these remarks come just the week after Swapo Party SG directed all regions and central committee members to abide by the code in letter and spirit and further, that they came from a man who sacrificed his youth to advance the liberties we enjoy today in a free and democratic Namibia.
Cde Shalli is expected to be the first amongst us, to defend the civil liberties of Namibians without resorting to such polarising language,” Kapere said.
The Legal Assistance Centre of Namibia director Toni Hancox said the centre was “extremely concerned about Shalli’s hate speech”. “If General Shalli wants to criticise those who hold a particular point of view, he is welcome to do so – but he is not free to threaten them with murder,” Hancox said.
2020-11-10 06:56:12 | 25 days ago