Release crime stats - PDM

The official opposition says murder and other violent crimes have become “a torrent”.

17 April 2019 | Crime

ELLANIE SMIT



The Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) has challenged the safety and security ministry to urgently release violent crime stats, along with statistics on all unsolved murder and rape cases in the country over the past ten years.

This follows the murders of Namibia Institute of Mining and Technology (NIMT) executive director Eckhart Mueller and his deputy, Heimo Hellwig.

They were shot dead on Monday inside the NIMT premises at Arandis.

The police spokesperson, Deputy Commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi, said by late yesterday afternoon that no suspects had been arrested.

“The police are still hard at work to catch the culprits,” he said.

PDM leader McHenry Venaani said there can be no peace and stability while violent crime stalks ordinary Namibians.

“The PDM has noticed with growing disgust and trepidation the seemingly endless violent crimes, including growing amounts of murders and rapes, being perpetrated against ordinary Namibians.”

Venaani specifically referred to the NIMT murders and said these and other types of crimes were unheard of, or infrequent, during Namibia’s earlier democratic history.

“But today they have become a torrent, robbing Namibian families of breadwinners and loved ones.”

Venaani said they have also noticed that many so-called high-profile crimes are still unsolved.

These include the murder and mutilation of Avihe Cheryl Ujaha, the murder of Marius Christo Mostert, the rape and murder of Magdalena Stoffels and many others.

“The police have also not released consolidated, annual crime statistics for as long as we can remember, which is unacceptable, to say the least,” said Venaani.

He said the police are first and foremost accountable to the public and should not become part of those who withhold information to “protect ailing or failing political heads”.

The PDM challenged the safety and security ministry and minister Charles Namoloh to release violent crime statistics, as a matter of urgency, along with statistics on all unsolved murder and rape cases over the past ten years.

Venaani said the public also deserves to know why and when the police are no longer actively investigating certain cases.

The PDM also challenged Namoloh to release a detailed breakdown of how the government budget cuts, including the freezing of recruitment, has affected his ministry, and especially the ability of the police to effectively combat and solve crimes.

Venaani said the public also deserves to know what training the relevant investigators have received to keep up-to-date with advances in technology and crime-solving.

The PDM also challenged justice minister Sacky Shanghala to release all the steps his ministry has taken to develop a more holistic approach to crime and justice by incorporating linkages with poverty, joblessness and other social evils.

“Or are we simply stabbing in the dark, so to speak, when it comes to effectively dealing with issues like justice and safety and security for our citizens?”

Meanwhile, President Hage Geingob expressed shock and sadness over the Mueller and Hellwig murders.

Geingob lauded Mueller for his stellar contributions toward the progressive realisation of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) and the development of young people.

He expressed his deepest sympathies towards the family, colleagues and friends of the NIMT victims.

The higher education ministry also expressed shock and disbelief, saying a team led by executive director Dr Alfred van Kent had been dispatched to observe the situation first-hand.

“We appeal for calmness, as the matter is being dealt with by the police,” the ministry said.

The German embassy in Windhoek condemned the murders as a “cowardly attack” that took two lives.

“In acknowledgement of his ceaseless efforts in the promotion and preservation of the German language and culture in Namibia, Eckhart Mueller received the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany almost ten years ago to the day, on 16 April 2009. Our heartfelt sympathy and thoughts are with his family and friends,” the embassy said in a statement.

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