A PETITION demanding the immediate suspension of Namibia Qualifications Authority (NQA) CEO, Franz Gertze, and City Police Spokesperson, Fabian Amukwelele, was today handed over to relevant authorities by MeToo Namibia, an organisation that spearheads anti-sexual and domestic violence initiatives in the country.
The petition, which has over 700 signatures, is demanding for the immediate suspension of Gertze, who has been charged with attempted murder after he shot his 29-year-old wife, Anita Gertza, six times in November last year at their family home.
Gertze, who is currently out on bail, last week returned to work as the head of the state-owned enterprise.
The petition also demands that well known Windhoek City Police spokesperson, Amukwelele, who was recently released on bail for the reported rape of a 29-year-old woman at his Rocky Crest residence earlier this year, also step down from public office.
Both the higher education minister, Dr. Itah Kandji-Murangi and City Police Chief, Abraham Kanime were, however, both not available to receive the petition.
“I just want to say it’s an issue of great public interest, however, it also involves rules, regulations and procedures and a common ground must be found,” Kanime said when called for comment afterwards.
Saima Akawa, the acting chairperson of MeToo Namibia and the person who handed over the petition to the NQA, the Ministry of Higher Education, as well as to the City Police, expressed disappointment at how the petition was received by the public institutions.
“It would have been nice to have the petitions received by the intended people. The petition was meant for the Chairperson of the NQA board, the Minister of Higher Education, Dr. Itah Kandji-Murangi, as well as City Police Chief, Abraham Kanime, but due to the pandemic, not all of these people are at work. We are hopeful that their secretaries will hand over the petition,” said Akawa.
The Petition demands that Amukwelele and Gertze should be suspended during the time their cases are being investigated and that internal investigations should be lodged against them.
Akawa further stated that the returning to work of the two accused to these public institutions gives an impression that society does not care for gender-based and sexual violence survivors.
“While each case has its merits, these cases illustrate the playing out of power dynamics in society. These accused persons are in higher positions, I’m sure that if it weren’t for their prominent positions, they would have not returned back for work,” Akawa said.
She stated that the movement expects to receive a response from the institutions within two days or it will approach a higher authority.
In their petition, the movement stated that it is plainly unacceptable that an employee accused of such a serious crime is allowed to resume work as usual.
Norman Tjombe, local human rights lawyer, giving a legal perspective on the subject, stated that there is nothing illegal about the returning of the two accused to their respective jobs, however, company policies of the two institutions should be consulted.
He added that this is especially applicable with the City of Windhoek as the complainant who lodged the rape case also works for them.