Soldiers turn to AR over ‘forced’ vaccines

Defence minister Frans Kapofi says he’s not aware of any formal complaints by soldiers opposing mandatory vaccinations.

15 October 2021 | Health

STAFF REPORTER







WINDHOEK

Soldiers opposed to mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations have struck a defiant tone by approaching the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) movement to help them avoid the jab.

The movement’s head of legal affairs, Maitjituavi Kavetu, wrote to defence minister Frans Kapofi on Wednesday, telling him to urgently withdraw the directive to mandatorily vaccinate all members of the Namibia Defence Force (NDF).

“We seek an urgent undertaking that the order issued in terms of Section 81 of the Defence Act shall urgently be withdrawn, [or] alternatively changed to make vaccinations voluntary. Failure which, we will be forced to approach the courts to set it aside in consultation with the Office of the Ombudsman,” he said.

Kapofi yesterday said he was not aware of any formal complaints by soldiers opposing mandatory vaccinations.

“So far, we have not received any formal or informal complaints from our troops,” he said.

“There are laid-down procedures for the soldiers to air their grievances, and certainly not through third parties.”

No control

The soldiers started an online petition that will be handed over to President Hage Geingob, demanding an immediate stop to mandatory vaccinations.

On 29 September, chief of defence force Martin Pinehas, citing Section 81 of the Defence Act, 2002, (Act 1 of 2002), ordered compulsory vaccinations for all members of the defence force.

To this, Kavetu said: “The above [directive] translates that an individual member of the NDF is stripped off their respective control over their bodies. It means that, being a member of NDF, you no longer have a say over your God-given body.

“In fact, it appears that it [soldiers’ bodies] is now being treated as any other object and property of NDF like the machine guns and war vehicles,” he said.

By forcing vaccinations, Pinehas was contradicting President Hage Geingob’s position on 15 September that vaccinations remained voluntary for all Namibians, Kavetu added.

Tick tock

“The forced vaccinations imposed upon against the will of the soldiers is contrary to the general position of the government that the Covid-19 vaccinations remain voluntarily,” Kavetu said.

AR has given Pinehas until 29 October to withdraw his directive, or the movement will drag him to court.

Citing various legal provisions, Kavetu said the directive won’t survive the test of constitutionality if challenged in court.

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