SWAKOPMUND - President Hage Geingob has urged traditional leaders to intensify their role as community leaders against unfair inheritance practices as well as gender-based violence (GBV) in the country.
The head of State made the plea through his message conveyed by vice president Nangolo Mbumba during the opening of the 24th annual meeting of the Council of Traditional Leaders, currently underway in Swakopmund.
Traditional leaders from all over the country gathered in the coastal town to fulfil their statutory duties and discuss issues concerning their communities.
“Globally and in Namibia, one in three women experiences physical and/or sexual violence, the majority perpetrated by intimate partners. Six percent of Namibian women reported experiencing violence during pregnancy, and 15% who experienced violence never sought help or told anyone about the violence,” he said.
He further said many Namibian women also lose their lives at the hands of their partners, while others are displaced due to unfair inheritance practices still being practised in Namibia.
According to the President, it is the responsibility of traditional leaders to confront the practices that hold our people back.
“An example of this is the inheritance practices which often result in women and children being dispossessed of family assets when the husband or father dies. On the topic of the protection of women, I would like to register my indignation at the persistence of gender-based violence and the increase of Namibians being killed by their intimate partners,” said Geingob.
According to him, GBV is a curse that afflicts society and robs the country of much-needed talent. As a result, a society is unable to fully develop if it leaves half of its population behind. Hence, if Namibia wants to develop, women must be provided equal opportunities.
The President then applauded the traditional leaders for their stance against GBV, and implored them to continue collaborating with the government and law enforcement agencies in rooting out violence, discrimination, and crime in general.
“Do not allow, within your respective areas, the archaic cultural practices of child marriages and child labour, which enslave our children to lifelong serfdom. Rather, identify such practices and vigorously discourage them by bringing them to the attention of constituency councillors or the governors in your regions, to ensure our children all receive an education that will help them become productive citizens of Namibia. Namibia is home to all of us, and we have the right to live freely and safely in it,” he said.