LPM raises spectre of 'military state'

22 May 2019 | Politics

The Landless People's Movement (LPM) is concerned that Namibia may be turning into a military state.

It believes there is a need for the United Nations (UN) to investigate the “rogue” army that has been deployed in communities.

LPM spokesperson Utaara Mootu said last week that government's decision to deploy its “rogue defence force” during Operation Hornkranz and its successor, Operation Kalahari Desert, should be interrogated.

Operation Hornkranz was a joint operation between the police and Namibian Defence Force (NDF) that was launched last December to combat crime and the potential loss of lives and property during the festive season.

It was followed by the launch of Operation Kalahari Desert, which will run in phases until the end of the year, and involves the police, the NDF, the City Police in Windhoek and customs officials.

“We really need to question whether the NDF and police are really protecting our lives if they are perpetrating violence. One can speculate that this violence can translate into society, normalised, and will later be institutionalised,” Mootu said.

The army has come under fire for allegedly attacking and brutalising civilians under the guise of keeping law and order.

There have been several reports of attacks on civilians by soldiers, including that of a Windhoek woman who was savagely beaten to the extent that her skull was fractured at a bar in Katutura.

A video clip also circulated on social media of a soldier attacking a man and telling a bystander that “I will f**k you up”.

Political commentator Ndumba Kamwanyah said the question that needs to be asked is whether the police are failing to combat crime.

He also believes that people's fears should not be dismissed, given the fact that Namibia comes from being a police state during the apartheid years.

JEMIMA BEUKES

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