In the shadow of securocrats

16 October 2019 | Columns

Not many among us would have woken up to the reality that we will be going into Election 2019 in a pseudo police/military state.

The insistence by the powers that be to continue with a joint police and army anti-crime operation, which has already resulted in the deaths of two civilians, remains disconcerting.

From members of the public being manhandled and forced to do push-ups for supposed cockiness, Operation Kalahari Desert continues to leave a sour taste in the mouth.

The attitude of the commander-in-chief, who remains unmoved by complaints of state-sanctioned violence, leaves a lot to be desired.

President Hage Geingob's comments that only criminals are complaining and criticising the heavy-handedness of members of the operation boggles the mind.

Geingob may indeed believe that he is 'wiping out criminals', but the environment ahead of the elections is not even quasi-military, it is in-your-face.

We don't know who is giving the president his reports, but the reality is that many law-abiding citizens are avoiding Operation Kalahari Desert members as far as they can, as smacks and other choice 'disciplinary measures' are being handed out in poor areas. We are also protecting our kids from stray Kalahari bullets.

This is while crime-ravaged leafy suburbs experience nothing of the sought.

Imagine being stopped as a man for wearing an earring or when you are stepping out of a pub in Klein Windhoek after a few drinks. There is no such harassment happening there. Imagine being told to do push-ups because you are walking around at night.

On the flipside, is Geingob really telling us that under the Swapo government crime is so far out of control that soldiers brandishing automatic rifles are needed to keep us in check? This is tantamount to indicting his own administration. What happened to holistic approaches like truly delivering basic services and opportunities that turn communities away from crime? The indignities being suffered are obviously not enough of a burden for our people!

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