Lying is also an insult

28 January 2019 | Columns

Information minister Stanley Simataa has urged members of the public to refrain from insulting President Hage Geingob and his government

Simataa said such derogatory and insulting language directed at the head of state, cabinet members and the entire government “is not only contrary to the letter and spirit of the constitution, but also goes against our cultural values and norms as human beings and as Africans”.

He said while the constitution makes provision for citizens to express their opinions, this should be conducted in a manner that is not insulting to leaders.

There has already been a backlash on social media, with many remarking that instead of releasing statements about how government will improve the lives of citizens, it has chosen to protect leaders from being insulted.

Of course, one should never condone shocking insults being hurled around at anybody, and where there is defamation and crimen injuria, for example, the law should take its course.

What is leaving a bad taste in the mouth is the belief that somehow differing from each other on public platforms, especially on how the country should be taken forward, is insulting to the leaders of the current administration.

What also leaves a bad taste in the mouth is how politicians manage to play loose and fast with the truth time and time again, without being censored by Simaata, who seems to have taken on the role anti-insult crusader in Namibia. Lying is also an insult.

As much as he would see the need to defend the hand that feeds him, can he then also pronounce himself on the politicians, still occupying high offices, who have in the past insulted and humiliated members of the public with their utterances? In terms of the unfolding social media battle between pro and anti-Harambee elements, both sides are giving as good as they get, and who is to say who is pulling the strings on both sides? Further, it is now more critical than ever that we focus on joblessness, poverty and other social evils.

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