Government must respect our rights, Mr President

DEAR Mr. President Hage Geingob you asked ganja users to convince the government on cannabis benefits.

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Yet Ganja Users Namibia (GUN) and Rastafarari United Front (RUF) organizations led by Brian Jaftha and I handed over a petition to Namibian Parliament demanding that the government amend or repeal Act 41 of 1971, which gravely violates the rights of cannabis users.

As the chief custodian of Namibian Constitution, you swore under oath from Chapter 5 Article 30 to uphold, protect and defend as the Supreme Law the Constitution of the Republic of Namibia and faithfully to obey, execute and administer the laws of the Republic of Namibia.

Furthermore, under oath you promised to ensure justice for all the citizens of Namibia.

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We brought our concerns to your government’s attention through government branch of legislature or Parliament, informing the Speaker of Parliament that the obsolete Apartheid law, “Abuse of Dependence-Producing Substances and Rehabilitation Centres Act 41 of 1971” is in direct violation of our constitutional rights and freedoms.

Since April up to now we are still waiting for Parliament to respond to our petition’s concerns and demands. In May GUN/RUF wrote to your office seeking an audience with you over our concerns we raised in our petition, but you told us your schedule is busy and referred us to the Prime Minister for consultations with her office.

GUN/RUF are in a process of preparing ourselves thoroughly to meet your Prime Minister Madam Saara Kungongelwa-Amadhila. You asked us to convince your administration on cannabis benefits to Namibia but so long cannabis is illegal there is no way our people can carry out any scientific, medical, commercial, cultural, religious, traditional or social researches that can prove that cannabis is good for Namibia, because number one, cannabis is not free sweets that can be sold freely but an illegal substance that gets citizens beaten up, harassed, searched, arrested by Namibia Police and sent to prison.

Last week in Swakopmund, during your Town Hall meeting with residents of Erongo Region local, cannabis activists Cheryl Green during her statement to you submitted our petition to your officials for consultation. So GUN/RUF can only hope that you will go through it thoroughly in order to protect all cannabis users from your own government that greatly violates fundamental rights and freedoms of cannabis users through outdated apartheid laws.

And for your information, Your Excellency “presumptuous” prosecutions attested by apartheid discrimination laws were declared unconstitutional in South Africa by the courts years ago, yet here in Namibia they are still operational and are in violation of Article 12(1)(d) that states “ All persons charged with an offence shall be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to the law”.

In conclusion, it shows that it is not the cannabis users who should convince the government why cannabis must be legalised but it is the government that should explain to cannabis users why it must still enforce outdated apartheid laws in an independent Namibia that clearly and openly violate the rights and freedoms of cannabis users. Any Namibian that supports our legalisation efforts can put their signature to our petition to Parliament and make a difference.
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Yours in cannabis,

Borro Ndungula

GUN general