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Has the Church failed in its mission?

By Carpio Amakali
Dear Editor: Kindly allow me the opportunity to air my view in your esteemed paper. What basically prompted me to raise these issues is the alarming increase of reported as well as unreported cases of abuse and violence against woman and children.

In spite of several efforts by relevant stakeholders to address this plight, it seems as if passionate killings, torture and the brutality on the most vulnerable of our society remains the order of the day. There might be isolated incidents of violence and abuse against the male species , however still remains insignificant in numbers compare to abuses and violence against women and children, hence my emphasis on the most vulnerable and affected ones in our society. Personal interview sessions with magistrates dealing with relevant cases reveal some shocking facts. Apparently most of the reported cases are piling up due to the fact that the victim withdraws an already reported case out of fear, or retaliation.

In most cases, the victim doesn't show up at all at the court proceedings as she fears that her breadwinner might go to jail and subsequently they reconcile their indifferences, but only to find out that the victim was killed the next week or month.

Sometimes cases of such nature are smothered in the communities and never come to the fore as the identity of the perpetrator is protected, or the victim is compensated under the table albeit the injustices committed against the victim.

In this regard constitutional guarantees are seriously infringed and eventually such a situation tremendously hampers the work of the social workers as well as all other relevant stakeholders in the field to come up with a tangible and comprehensive data on the table to reflect the true crisis. A radio producer of our national broadcaster once mentioned it over the air that it is the duty of the Police to protect its citizens from such violence. Equally true as mandated per act to protect all Namibian citizens, however I tend to agree to some extent, and at the same time also disagree with those sentiments as the Police only shows up at domestic violence when called to attend to eminent domestic violence in order to restore peace (provided that a vehicle is available), or to remove the deceased.

In this regard I dont think the Police have got that sufficient manpower to take charge or to control what is taking place in the privacy of homes as it is very unlikely for them to place a fixed officer at every house, neither to place a law enforcement officer at every corner or path where our school children are moving or playing.

In conclusion, what I am trying to emphasize with these facts is that we as citizens should take ownership to ensure a safe environment where our woman and children are safe from violence and abuse of any kind. As a point of departure, how do we go about this? Let us start off with the church, as I believe based on its mandate, cannot remain a passive partner in this crisis, henceforth it should be seen reassessing the fact and reality how and why all these heinous crimes are committed by the 90% Christians against their fellow Christians or not.

Secondly , as a nation, if we want our woman and children to live in safe environment where peace and tranquil flourish, we should stop criticizing without attempting to lift a finger and do our outmost best supporting each other in all endeavors aimed for the good and benefit of the nation and to minimize those conditions such as shebeens reported to be attributing factors.

Last but not the least, as a nation we should move away from any form of complacency and start to look deeper into the root causes in order to address all this scenarios from a holistic point of view by diverting from ineffective superficial costly programs that are not working, and venture into solution based programs.

As a matter of fact, the entire process from investigation, apprehension until sentencing as well as subsequent sustenance of the offender is a very costly process and therefore places a heavy burden on the tax payer, believe it or not. We should start to calculate how much we spend on investigations and apprehensions, building of larger prisons, maintenance, logistics and the sustenance of prisoners etc, etc.

I believe that WE CAN create an environment where those preying on the vulnerable of our society will feel unwelcome in our societies

Carpio Amakali
Concerned citizen & community activist






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