GOBABIS - Although police officers have sworn to protect the public, violence against their intimate partners is apparently rife among some male police officers in Gobabis while the process of disciplining them hardly gets off the ground.
These officers’ alleged weapon of choice to physically abuse their partners and wives is the sturdy police belt.
On Friday, New Era stumbled upon a 34-year-old woman who was carrying a big sharp knife while crying in the street shouting: “I am tired. I will stab him today. Why does he want to kill me? I am tired.”
The reporter stopped Veronika Monchwe to ask what was going on.
She said: “ I have been beaten and abused for the past 10 years by my boyfriend, who is a police officer, and yet no action is taken against him. He beat me nearly to death on Sunday and later took me to the private doctor. Yesterday, again he wanted to beat me. I went into hiding and he went further and told my nanny that he will kill me. I am carrying this knife to kill him before he kills me,” she fumed.
She explained that whenever she reports the matter to the police, she is advised to go back and talk the matter out without being allowed to open a case.
This reporter then drove her to the office of Omaheke regional crime investigations coordinator, Deputy Commissioner Chris Kalimbula.
Kalimbula explained that he is aware of Monchwe and her partner’s matter from the colleagues but it was not brought to his office for intervention.
“I have known the suspect for five years now as a composed man and I know their issue for some time now. The guy is transferred to another police station outside Gobabis. Normally their fight is derived from jealousy and alcohol,” he said.
Kalimbula also indicated that the duo usually consume alcohol together and then later fight.
On Friday after the confrontation, the suspect also broke a few things at home before he took groceries worth N$1 600 he bought for the house on Thursday, including the clothes he had bought for her as a token of forgiveness.
When the reporter and the victim sat in the office of Kalimbula, he called the officer to find out what had happened and that he must come to his office. The member asked Kalimbula to meet the next day as he was under the influence of alcohol.
“Commissioner, I don’t want you to see me in this state please let us meet tomorrow. I know that lady made me suffer. I think she is cheating on me,” he said on the phone call that was on loudspeaker.
The commissioner instructed the officer to stay away from the victim‘s house and make arrangements to return the groceries.
The regional crime coordinator also told the victim to open a case or apply for a protection order so that arrangements can be made for child maintenance. Kalimbula also offered to house Monchwe somewhere safe while she makes up her mind.
However, on Sunday, the couple allegedly celebrated the accused’s birthday at a house in Gobabis before he drove back to his duty station which is 100 kilometres outside Gobabis. Monchwe opted not to open a case as they have forgiven each other.
Other abuse cases
New Era also approached another woman who suffered abuse at the hands of the husband who also works at the same police station as the above mentioned suspect.
She, however, left her matrimonial home and now stays with a street kid in a small shack.
“I am here because my husband physically abuse me. He is a police officer but he often beats me. So, I left our house although we are still married,” she explained.
A local activist, Frans Doeseb explained that such cases are many and most people are scared to report abuse to the police.
“I know a lot of ladies who are physically abused by their police partners. They do not report them because they are scared. Our police guys here are very aggressive,” he said.
Deputy Commissioner Kalimbula said women must not get abused in silence.
“I am not aware of any other abuse matter but if women are being abused by the members, they must come forth and report such abuse so that we take action against them. We have an internal investigation unit in the region that deals with crimes by police officers. Actions can be taken as soon as the cases are opened,” he