A Pandora's Box

14 December 2018 | Columns

The shocking revelation that police officers across the country are beholden to cash loans, and in fact spend N$40 million a month on servicing loans with their salaries, is worrying, to say the least.

A cash-strapped cop is prone to be tempted by bribes and may not think twice if a drug dealer or other criminal waves an inducement in their face to look the other way.

The police chief, Lieutenant-General Sebastian Ndeitunga, gave President Hage Geingob a frank overview of the tragic state of affairs in the force on Wednesday during a visit to State House.

According to him the police force has been crippled by cost-cutting measures introduced by the government.

Ndeitunga also told the president that N$40 million is deducted from police salaries every month to pay micro-lenders.

“The officers, they took loans from micro-lenders and this is deducted from their salaries. They took out the loans to pay for their needs. And this may even lead to people committing suicide,” he said.

Ndeitunga expressed concern over what he termed a “state of capture”, especially when one looks at the rate of corruption in the country.

The police chief emphasised that his staff are so stressed that they cannot even be joked with.

“They can even tell you, 'I do not eat patriotism, my family is hungry'. They are so stressed, when you joke with them you can see the stress on their faces,” he said.

This represents a direct threat to the safety and security of the nation and should not be laughed off. Steps should be taken to dig the force out of this debt trap.

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