Office of the Inspector General of the Namibian Police force
THE official press release on the response to non-compliance to lockdown regulations by the organisers and attendees of an event held at Inspirational Tables Market at the Old Power Station, Southern Industrial Area, Windhoek
This statement from the Khomas Regional Headquarters is in response to the article carried in the Confidente newspaper titled ‘POLICE BOSS IN HOT WATER FOR BREAKING LOCKDOWN RULES’.
On the 22nd of August 2020 at about 11h30 the Regional Commander received a call reporting that there are a lot of people gathering at two different places of which one of them was the Inspirational Tables Market the Old Power Station in the Southern Industrial area of Windhoek and the other one was at a church in Klein Windhoek. Based on that report, the Regional Commander immediately called the Station Commander of Windhoek Police Station, Chief Inspector Muyambango to organise his operational members to accompany the Regional Commander to the sites.
Upon arrival at the place referred to as Inspire Market, it was observed that a lot of people were at the venue; some were buying while others were seated at the venue busy eating and drinking alcohol and coffee. There was also a PA system which we believe was meant to entertain the participants, in view of all these, the Regional Commander requested the audience to stop their trading and listen to his message which, of course, the PA system was used to inform them how some of them were violating the Covid-19 Regulations such as Social distancing, wearing of face masks, consumption of food, alcohol and other beverages. The organiser was warned that his conduct contravened the State of Emergency Regulations and as such he could be held liable to the penalties thereof. At the end of the message, all those that were seated were immediately ordered to leave the premises and the organisers were ordered to remove all the tables and chairs and allow only take away basis. This was done in accordance to Regulation 6 (4) which states that “An authorised officer may instruct a gathering, other than a gathering referred to in sub-regulation (2), to disperse and may use all reasonable measures to cause a gathering or group to disperse”. All that was done in the presence of their Lawyer who was called to meet the Regional Commander at the site. Both the organiser and the Lawyer promised to insure that the incident is not repeated.
Just before to our departure from the premises the organiser and the Lawyer requested the Regional Commander and the team to take a picture which of course was normal as it happens during the community engagements. It is important to note that the office of the Regional commander does not have the mandate to issue trading permits hence such permits are issued by the Ministry of Trade and Industrialisation and respective Local Authorities. Similarly, our functions are limited to enforcing the Covid-19 Regulations.
In light of the above the Regional Commander categorically rejects the author’s allegations and other insinuations made against his person and his authority. The Regional Commander considered these allegations as serious and tarnishing the image of Khomas Region and that of its commander, as such, In an effort to comprehend the author’s concerns, Mr. Lebbeus Hashikutuva was personally contacted by the Regional Commander invited to a round table meeting at Police Regional Headquarters Boardroom which was scheduled for Tuesday, 8th September 2020 at 10h00. However, on short notice, Mr. Lebbeus communicated that he was no able to attend the meeting henceforth the meeting was cancelled and the Regional
Commander pledged to respond in writing through the office of the Inspector General. It should be pointed out that the office of the Regional Commander remained disturbed by the singling out of the purported image attached in the email at the exclusion of many others taken and published after similar exercises were conducted in different locations involving communities.
Therefore, this office views this action by the author of the said email mischievous, devoid of any truth and harbours ulterior motives known only by the author.
The allegation quoted from the email that “it is simply unacceptable that the country security apparatus vehemently enforces the Covid-19 regulations rightfully so in areas and locations which are predominantly inhabited by black people, while affluent suburbs in which white people lives are shielded from public policing. The allocation of justice and policing is, in itself and at present an important mark of white privilege and it cannot be accepted”.
The allegations of the white privilege are unfounded and devoid of any truth as the Inspirational Tables Market had people from all walks of business life including black Namibians and foreign exhibitors such as Indonesian community in Namibia. Equally, the Klein Windhoek trading sites attracted majority of black Namibians and few whites.
Therefore, the notion of white privileges cannot be justified in any manner by people who want to tarnish the good name of the Namibian Police Force.
The Namibian Police Force remains A-political and impartial, hence we are dedicated to serve all residents of Namibia regardless of their ethnic origin, racial background, political affiliation and beliefs.
The Namibian Police Force in Khomas Region is continuously educating and sensitizing the general public on the Covid-19 Regulations at various business establishments, including informal traders at shopping centres such as Otjomuise, Shoprite, Hidas Centre, Wernhil, Havana, Ombili, Nelson Mandela open market to mention but a few. It should be noted that all the traders are treated equal and no preferential treatment is given to one group or the other.
The office of the Regional Commander is on record in the effort of engaging community members and sensitizing them on the best practices of averting the further spread of COVID-19 and countless photos were taken in that regard.
I thank you very much.
Commissioner Joseph Shikongo