FLIPSIDE — Chris Jacobie
NAMIBIAN women are not protected against violence by prayers, debates, protest marches, workshops or social media activists.
Women and girls cannot turn to their priests and churches, police or defence force or teachers, because the protectors turned predators. In spite of the most powerful posts in the land, Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Swapo Vice-president, Prosecutor-general and a Ministry of Gender women are now the most marginalized.
Violence and the threat of violence keeps all women in bondage of fear, because it can explode against any women or girl at any moment of any day, at any place and by anyone. It creates a Namibia of predators and prey and to deny it is to deny night follows day.
Those women that do not shed tears of pain are shedding tears of fear.
By now, Namibia should have been the safest haven for any woman, but ironically Namibia — internationally recognized and respected for its peace and stability and gender equality — is now one of the most dangerous places on the planet.
Women who are not violated are even abandoned from the very institutions that are supposed to empower them and guarantee their dignity. Worst of all, they must seek justice from those that abandon and betray them continuously.
Namibian girls and women are assassinated, in what can only be termed as an indiscriminate gender genocide – and victims range from the cradle to just beyond the grave.
Babies and grandmothers are not protected by age, but have become vulnerable by age, because they are prey of the worst cowards that any society can think of.
What remains now is to realize that fire can only be fought by fire. The reality is that there are more rapists on bail than in jail.
Namibia has a racial discrimination law that presumes anyone guilty but found no-one guilty, but a criminal procedure act that presume rapists and paedophiles innocent. The law is even a further danger to women and children as proven by retaliation.
On the eve of elections and the National Assembly in session, as well as a barrage of promises from various political parties and leaders, the silence of representatives is deafening and must send shivers down the backs of the vulnerable.
Namibians will not be surprised if tears roll down the eyes of the Statue of the Founding Father, Dr Sam Nujoma, holding the Constitution at the Independence Museum.
Dr Nujoma and his successors, Dr Lukas Pohamba and Dr Hage Geingob, by now surely have observed that more women are dying in the streets and in the villages than on the battlefield during a bloody liberation war.
They must wonder what happened to the support they could have expected from their comrades, including women, who – thanks to them – received an elevated status with deliberate actions to empower women, especially also since the three presidents must remind Namibians of the growing stain on the Namibian conscience.
Members of the National Assembly in session have a small window of opportunity to pull the party political teeth from the ongoing violence against the weak and vulnerable to unite on behalf of national interest.
A unanimous motion that “In the light of the frightening statistics of violence against women and children, the assembly will consider and adopt radical changes to the criminal procedure act against those guilty of the crime against the vulnerable of society” will go far in creating national unity and purpose
Steps might include a provision that anyone – not only the victims – can report a crime against women and children, bail not being granted and a special court to swiftly and decisively deal with perpetrators.
Civil society can also contribute by uniting all the various interest groups, non-governmental and community organisations that mushroomed around the issue and divided attention instead of focussing on efforts to make a change and make women and children safer.
The #Be Free Movement founded by the First Lady, Monica Geingos, could be a unifier for national civil society concern into a legacy of all future First Ladies to deal with.
The problem now is that the remaining majority of good men, grandfathers, fathers, sons, uncles and husbands are also held hostage by the bad that operate freely under the cover of a weak law that does not represent Namibia’s disgust in gender genocide.
The issue is not about politics or culture.
It is political correctness that went wrong and should be rectified as first in line of defence for the women and children of Namibia.
The issue of gender based violence does not require bravery. It just asks for a conscience and this cannot be too much to expect.