Weapons of destruction

There is correlation between the uncontrolled spread of small arms and light weapons and terrorism, armed robberies, trafficking in drugs and precious minerals, among others.

25 February 2019 | Crime

ELLANIE SMIT



Small and light arms are the weapons of daily destruction, with their use having a devastating impact on national security and social economic development.

This is according to safety and security executive director Trephine Panduleni Kamati, who was speaking last week during a workshop on the review and development of a national strategic plan on arms control, management and disarmament.

The five-day workshop brought together representatives from civil society, faith-based organisations and technocrats from offices and ministries, as well as local and foreign experts.

Kamati said the misuse of small arms and light weapons, fuelled by their illicit proliferation, is responsible for terrorism, organised crime and human rights violations.

“This is more devastating than weapons of mass destruction.”

According to Kamati, small arms and light weapons have for the past decades, and will in the foreseeable future, continue to receive more high-profile attention globally, regionally and nationally than weapons of mass destruction.

“This is because small arms and light weapons are the weapons of daily destruction.”

He said there is consequently a correlation between the uncontrolled spread of small arms and light weapons and terrorism, armed robberies, trafficking in drugs and precious minerals, gender-based violence, poaching and other organised crimes.

“The unrestricted proliferation of small arms and light weapons causes great suffering and a sense of insecurity, which undercuts development and leads to the disintegration of the social fabric.”

Kamati said these firearms gradually destroy the well-established traditional mechanisms for socio-economic development.

According to him small arms and light weapons are the tools of choice for criminals and aids first-degree offences such as murder, attempted murder, armed robberies, poaching and the destruction of the environment.

“The effect of such a situation is that citizens will acquire firearms for self-defence. The demand for firearms will lead to illicit proliferation, thereby giving a fertile ground for criminal elements to commit serious crimes.”

Kamati said a culture of survival of the fittest through guns tears apart the very fabric that holds peace and security together in Namibia.

“Therefore the meeting must address these legitimate concerns, he said.”

Nampol deputy inspector-general for administration, Major-General Anna-Marie Nainda, said the aim of the workshop was to ensure that Namibia has a five-year robust and forward looking strategic plan on arms control, management and disarmament.

“This initiative will make a meaningful contribution to our efforts of maintaining peace, security, and by implication fulfilling Namibia’s obligations towards global peace locally, regionally and internationally.”

She stressed that the unabated proliferation of illicit arms detrimentally impacts on society, both socially and economically, and therefore it is important to control arms in Namibia.

According to her the Namibian police just launched its five-year strategic plan which was designed to appropriately direct the work of the police to the fundamental ideals of crime-prevention, public safety and investigation.

“A customer services charter has also been developed to provide greater assurance to the public about the standard of service they should expect to receive from the police.”

Nainda said there is a need to align the plan on the control of small arms and light weapons to the organisational plan and all other important policies of government, to ensure that all these plans are pulling in the same direction.

According to Kamati as part of the ministry’s commitment to preventing, combatting and eradicating the illicit proliferation of small arms and light weapons, a directive was issued in July last year.

The directive was to review the 2005 National Action Plan on Small Arms and Light Weapons, which ultimately resulted in a comprehensive five-year National Strategic Plan on Arms Control and Disarmament.

The directive also included the streamlining and transformation of the institutional framework on small arms and light weapons to conform to those of the agreed international and regional examples.

Furthermore, the reappointment of key institutional members was directed. These members will be responsible for the sustainable implementation of the new strategic plan.

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