We watched him die

A sister has painted a picture of how her brother was killed in cold blood when he tried to fend off a midnight intruder who was raping his other sister in the Katutura slums.

21 September 2020 | Crime

JEMIMA BEUKES

WINDHOEK

The elder sister of a 29-year-old man who was killed on Saturday in the Havana informal settlement has narrated how her brother was shot dead while trying to protect a younger sister who was being raped by an intruder.

A police report issued on Saturday by Deputy Commissioner Kauna Shikwambi of the police public relations division said the man was shot by the suspect when he rushed to his sister’s shack to help her after she screamed.

The deceased’s elder sister, Silba Kazekondjo, told Namibian Sun yesterday that her brother collapsed right on their doorstep and they watched him die.

“He even tried to run after the suspect but he just collapsed outside the door,” she said.

Brazen rape attacks and murders in Namibia over the past few days have ignited widespread anger and calls for new measures and tactics to deal with the evolving violent nature of crime that has ordinary citizens feeling unsafe in their homes.

Last week Monday a 12-year-old girl was raped, also in Havana, by two robbers who broke into their shack while her mother watched on defencelessly.

According to the police report, the intruder broke into the woman’s shack and ‘inserted’ his fingers in her vagina.

These and other crimes have illustrated how criminals are becoming even bolder amid the ongoing Covid-19 economic meltdown, with commentators saying they are taking out their feelings of emasculation on ‘soft targets’ in communities.

Social pressure

Lucy Edwards-Jauch, a lecturer in the Unam sociology department and a gender activist believes the Namibian community must be educated and that there is a need for a sex offender’s register.

“I would say mobilise the activists to march against this barbarism that targets women and children. We need a GBV action plan budget. We need investigative and prosecutorial expertise to get away from this impunity. We need women’s empowerment programmes. Then we also need a sex offender's register,” she said.

Another gender activist, Unam lecturer Immaculate Mogotsi, said women are always the soft targets preyed upon when men are under pressure during wars or economic downturns.

“What I suspect in the case of Windhoek and Namibia in general, people have lost their jobs, they are very desperate and it creates anarchy. Poverty and unemployment just create anarchy, where if the state is not careful, they will find a nation where they cannot control it. And unfortunately, women become the first line of targets. The state must step up,” she said.

According to her the government must find a way to patrol areas to identify hotspots where these crimes are happening and provide security there.

Women matter

Gender commentator Ngamane Karuaihe-Upi said women and children are disproportionally affected by gender crimes.

“The thought that women matter is not yet out there. We are still stuck in a world where people go out of their way to justify these crimes. Women are still regarded as the holy cows; you cannot question manhood and when you talk about womanhood you are questing manhood and you are accused of emasculating men,” he said.

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