Call to suspend Gertze, Amukwelele

An anti-sexual violence group plans to petition authorities today in protest of the return to work of two men accused of serious crimes against women, including one who allegedly shot his wife six times.

18 May 2020 | Crime

JEMIMA BEUKES

WINDHOEK

By yesterday morning, a petition demanding the suspension of Namibia Qualifications Authority (NQA) boss Franz Gertze and Fabian Amukwelele, the spokesperson of Windhoek City Police, had collected more than 700 signatures out of a targeted 1 000. The petition is an initiative of the Namibian #MeToo movement, which is in partnership with high-end stakeholders such as the Office of the First Lady, Monica Geingos.

The group is expected to hand over the petition today. Gertze, who is charged with attempted murder after allegedly shooting his wife six times at close range, is out on bail and returned to work last week.



Innocent until proven guilty

He told Namibian Sun yesterday that he subscribes to the principle that everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

He said he would not comment on the substance of the matter, which is still in the courts.

“I am a law-abiding citizen and the law must take its course. I have heard about the petition but I have not seen it myself,” he said.



Rape case

Amukwelele, accused of raping a colleague, was back at work two days after being granted bail. He was not reachable for comment.

The 37-year-old Amukwelele was arrested on 9 April after he was accused of raping his 29-year-old colleague, who fell pregnant.

The charge stems from an incident that occurred on 11 January at Amukwelele's Rocky Crest home.He has maintained the sex was consensual.



Public interest

City Police Chief Abraham Kanime, when contacted for comment, said they will act accordingly once they receive the petition.

“It is an issue of public interest. We have the regulations on one hand and the issue of public interest on the other,” he said.



Regressive

Following the return of the two men to their respective workplaces, the #MeToo movement started the online petition demanding that Gertze and Amukwelele be suspended with immediate effect from the NQA and City Police respectively.

“In a time when there are renewed efforts to fight against sexual and gender-based violence in Namibia, the ways in which the cases of Amukwelele and Gertze are unfolding are as regressive as they are discouraging,” the movement said.





“It is simply not acceptable that these two men, despite being accused of serious crimes, have returned to work and that no disciplinary action has been instituted against them at their respective institutions.

“The prevailing message, indeed, is that the two institutions stand by the two alleged perpetrators.”



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