Crackdown on dagga petitioners

26 April 2019 | Police

Soldiers and police officers raided the offices of a cannabis advocacy group in Windhoek on Wednesday, days after a peaceful protest march calling for the legalisation of dagga.

The raid led to the arrest of Ganja Users of Namibia (GUN) president Brian Jaftha. About 200 grams of dagga, valued at N$2 000, was seized.

According to fellow GUN members, Jaftha was assaulted during the “violent” police raid.

They plan to take legal action against the officers involved.

Namibian Sun was informed that the raid was one of several recent incidents of alleged over-zealous policing against suspected dagga users.

These developments come amid growing calls for the legalising of dagga in Namibia in line with other countries such as South Africa and the United States.



Current laws

Toni Hancox, director of the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC), says currently dagga is a controlled drug in terms of the Abuse of Dependence-Producing Substances and Rehabilitation Centres Act of 1971.

Under this law the police are allowed to enter and search premises without a search warrant if there is a reasonable belief that there are drugs on the premises.

But legal experts point out that no law-enforcement operation is exempt from existing laws, and that the police could face a legal backlash if evidence is obtained under duress or without the required documentation.





“At the end of the day, there is no such thing as a special operation in law. Special operations are not

“At the end of the day, there is no such thing as a special operation in law. Special operations are not exempted from the law,” lawyer Norman Tjombe said yesterday.

The head of the Namibian police force, Lieutenant-General Sebastian Ndeitunga, said he was unaware of complaints of heavy-handed tactics during Wednesday's operation.

Nevertheless, he warned that police operations must be conducted within the prescribed rules and regulations.

He said the law does not permit manhandling of suspects, “unless in the case of self-defence”.

Ndeitunga added that the officers on duty should be given an opportunity to respond to the allegations.



Clampdown

According to a spokesperson for the GUN group, Jaftha remains behind bars and will appear before court today.

GUN member Borro Ndungula said the actions of the police and NDF on Wednesday were in violation of the rights of every Namibian to safety, security and privacy.

The police did not produce a search warrant, he said.

“They are supposed to protect us, not come here and bully us. They had AK-47s and were wearing bulletproof vests. They were here to terrorise us. Why send in an army?” he said.

The police said the operation was part of Operation Hornkranz, a crime-prevention campaign with military reinforcements.

But police spokesperson Kauna Shikwambi rejected GUN's claim that 40 or more NDF officers had taken part in the raid.

She explained that Hornkranz operations were led by the Namibian police, and that NDF soldiers were merely there as reinforcements.



Activism

Earlier this week, GUN and the Rastafari United Front (RUF) handed over a petition to parliament calling for the decriminalisation of dagga in Namibia.

The petition calls for the “free use, possession, production and trade in cannabis for medicinal, recreational, cultural, historical, traditional, and religious purposes”.

The petitioners want parliament to establish a commission to control and regulate a cannabis industry, which they say could provide economic benefits to “hundreds of thousands” of Namibians.

“We call on the government of Namibia to represent Namibian interests according to modern, well-informed and progressive standards,” the petition reads.

In 2007, the LAC, made a submission to parliament which suggested that dagga “should arguably be placed in another [drug] category altogether. In particular, there has been a growing worldwide trend to decriminalise cannabis insofar as small quantities for personal use are concerned.”

The LAC said one of the reasons for the international move to relax laws regulating marijuana use was because it is regarded as a “soft drug” and police resources should rather be used to curb the distribution of “hard drugs”.



JANA-MARI SMITH

Similar News

 

Ahowe otashi ti ahowe

3 days ago - 16 September 2019 | Police And Crime

Sebastian Ndeitunga okwa popi kutya ahowe osha hala okutya ahowe na kape na we efatululo limwe li lipo.Ndeitunga okwa popi ngaaka pethimbo kwa patululwa pambelewa...

Cops probe deaths

2 weeks ago - 04 September 2019 | Police

The Namibian police are investigating the deaths of 18 people who died in less than a week.Of these, 15 people died in road accidents, two...

Oshiwike oshiwinayi

2 weeks ago - 04 September 2019 | Police And Crime

Opolisi yaNamibia otayi konaakona iipotha yi na sha neso lyaantu 18 mboka ya hulitha muule woshiwike shimwe, mwakwatelwa aantu 15 mboka ya hulithile miiponga yiihauto,...

Anti-crime operation starts at Rundu

1 month - 20 August 2019 | Police

The acting police commander for Kavango East, Commissioner Vilho Kalwenya, has issued a stern warning to community members who are in cahoots with criminals, saying...

'Operation Kalahari Desert' ya tulwa miilonga moRundu

1 month - 20 August 2019 | Police

Ngoka ta longo pehala lyaKomanda gwOpolisi moshitopolwa shaKavango East, Komufala Vilho Kalwenya okwa popi kutya kape na ehala lyiimbuluma moshitopolwa shoka na okwa gandja ekunkililo...

Man shot over frying pan

1 month - 19 August 2019 | Police

Two attempted murder cases were opened during the second phase of Operation Kalahari Desert over the weekend in the Erongo Region, with one involving a...

Training on crime scene management relevant

2 months ago - 04 July 2019 | Police

Due to the transient and fragile nature of crime investigation, the reliability and preservation of its physical integrity depends largely on initial actions at the...

Swakopmund teen hangs herself

2 months ago - 02 July 2019 | Police

The Swakopmund community is reeling in shock after a grade 11 Namib High School learner committed suicide on the Swakopmund Primary School playground.Her body was...

Kalahari halted… for now

2 months ago - 26 June 2019 | Police

The Peoples Litigation Centre (PLC) is set to approach the Windhoek High Court next week if their demand that soldiers be withdrawn from Operation Kalahari...

Kalahari in LPM’s sights

3 months ago - 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)...

Latest News

Oshakati hospital rundown, understaffed

17 hours ago | Health

The 750-bed Oshakati Intermediary Hospital, which serves close to a million patients a year, is operating without a paediatrician, neonatologist, neurosurgeon, dietician, clinical psychologist and...

Roar young lions, roar!

17 hours ago | Columns

Youth without a consistent voice are inevitably excluded from the pockets of power that exist throughout societies.Youth who become praise-singers and imbongis, even when they...

Teko trio walk free

17 hours ago | Justice

Teckla Lameck, Jerobeam Mokaxwa and Chinese national Yang Fang, known as the Teko trio, have been found not guilty of all charges relating to a...

'He decided to flee'

17 hours ago | Crime

Defence minister Penda Ya Ndakolo says Benisius Kalola (32), the second unarmed civilian killed during Operation Kalahari Desert this year, was shot when he fled...

280 cops deployed against poachers

17 hours ago | Crime

The Namibian police have deployed 280 members to assist in the fight against poaching.Inspector-general Sebastian Ndeitunga says these members, selected from across the country, are...

Uanivi gets Warriors chance

17 hours ago | Sports

African Stars veteran defender Pat-Navin Uanivi has finally been selected for the national team after years of being omitted. Uanivi forms part of Brave Warriors...

Horn suspended for alleged doping

17 hours ago | Sports

South African women's 100m record holder Carina Horn has been suspended from competition over doping allegations.The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) announced on Monday: “The AIU...

'Hitman' faces tough brawl

17 hours ago | Sports

Former two-time world champion Paulus 'Hitman' Moses is set for tough night, as he not only faces Russia's Adlan Aburashidov, but also the home-ground advantage...

Loubser ready to get his...

17 hours ago | Sports

Four years ago, Cliven Loubser was inspired after watching his native Namibia score a try against New Zealand and earn their first Rugby World Cup...

Load More