Kalahari in LPM’s sights

Military involvement described as ‘sinister’

20 June 2019 | Police

The Landless Peoples Movement (LPM) has added its voice to the growing clamour for the government to withdraw members of the Namibian Defence Force (NDF) from Operation Kalahari Desert.

LPM leader Bernadus Swartbooi said the deployment of the NDF against unarmed civilians is illegal because President Hage Geingob has not declared a state of emergency.

“A war has been declared on civilians; the soldiers are not trained to work with civilians,” Swartbooi fumed last week.

He said the killing of Zimbabwean taxi driver Talent Fambauone Black, allegedly by NDF corporal Gerson Nakale, came as “no surprise”.

“It was to be expected. We could have predicted that this would happen. It is an indication that the Namibian government is ready and willing to unleash its power against civilians. This is a common purpose murder; the police and army acted with the same intent. This begs the question: Who is in charge?” Swartbooi asked.

The LPM strongly condemned the killing of Black in a statement and threatened to mobilise a huge protest march if NDF members are not removed from the streets with immediate effect.

“We shall mobilise the masses to defend themselves against Geingob’s bloodthirsty army,” said Ivan Skrywer, the LPM’s national coordinator of logistics and events.

Skrywer said the LPM will also seek assistance from other countries “in the form of military and diplomatic intervention to ensure the safety of unarmed civilians”.

Skrywer said their first port of call will be the United Nations (UN).

He said the deployment of the army onto the streets is not to fight crime, saying that there is a darker, more sinister motive, which is to intimidate citizens who will be voting in the upcoming national elections in November.

“As a party we will protect the constitution and the lives of unarmed civilians. The unarmed civilians are the custodians of peace and stability in this country; not the corrupt leaders,” Skrywer said.

Police inspector-general Sebastian Ndeitunga is adamant that the NDF members will remain part of Operation Kalahari Desert.

CATHERINE SASMAN