PRESIDENT Hage Geingob expressed his concern about reports which allege that various instances of violent and heavy handed tactics were meted out by Namibia Defence Force soldiers on patrol during joint anti-crime operations over the past weekend.
In a statement Issued by State House the President has already met with the top brass of the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Safety and Security, the Namibian Police and the Namibia Defence Force, to ascertain the validity of the incidents reported in the media and to be briefed on the latest developments.
In its statement the Presidency confirmed that the respective Ministries together with NAMPOL and the NDF will conduct a thorough investigation into these reports and where it is found that soldiers reacted outside of the rules, such perpetrators will face the appropriate disciplinary procedures.
“It is also within the right of citizens to press charges should they face violence at the hand of the army or police. The purpose of these joint operations is to tackle crime and not to turn Namibia into a police state.”
The Presidency urged that all stakeholders adhere to strict codes in carrying out operations against crime around the country.
Dr. Geingob said Namibia is a country governed by the Rule of Law and the Constitution, which is the Supreme Law of the land.
According to the statement it is stated clearly in the Namibian Constitution under Chapter 3 – Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms, particularly Article 8, which refers to the Respect for Human Dignity: (1) The dignity of all persons shall be inviolable. (2) (a) In any judicial proceedings or in other proceedings before any organ of the State, and during the enforcement of a penalty, respect for human dignity shall be guaranteed. (b) No persons shall be subject to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
It should also be noted that under the Constitution, joint crime fighting operations between the Namibian Police and the
Namibian Defence forces have been a regular occurrence and did not begin when the President launched the anti-crime operation at the beginning of December last year.
With this in mind, any reports of Namibian citizens facing brutality at the hands of our uniformed personnel is highly worrisome and warrants immediate investigation, as it represents a haunting reminder of the dark pre-independent history of our country.
“Although we are all aware that the scourges of crime and violence are a threat to the peace and stability of our society, and therefore need to be tackled, this should be done with strict adherence to maintaining the rights and freedoms of the citizens,” Dr. Geingob said in the statement.