01 May 2014 13:30pm
WINDHOEK, 01 MAY (NAMPA) The Namibia Transport and Taxi Union (NTTU) should not engage in violent acts to achieve its mission to pay lower traffic fines, but should rather vote the ruling Swapo-party out of power.
This is the view of Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) Member of Parliament (MP) Peter Naholo following the unions threat to disturb peace in the country if traffic fines are not reduced.
Violence is not a solution. They (union) should just vote Swapo out of power.
The problem is that Swapo lost the social aspect it is not on their agenda to address social issues in the country. These are the things we fought for in the bush to look after our people, they just lost it, he said in an interview with Nampa on Thursday.
The NTTU on Monday threatened to mobilise thugs, gangsters and the jobless in a violent anti-apartheid style 16 June strike, if traffic fines are not reduced.
The strike is planned to take place countrywide on 16 June 2014.
The union handed over a petition to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs in July last year, and is yet to receive feedback.
Issues which the NTTU want the government to consider include high traffic fines, and the inadequate provision of taxi ranks as well as loading zones. The union also complained about the lack of respect and non-recognition of taxi drivers by Government.
Last week, Naholo made a statement in the National Assembly during discussions in the union's petition that the majority of taxi drivers who are trying to make a living and put bread on the tables of their families, are locked up in prison cells due to high traffic fines.
He further claimed that many young people, some of whom are graduates from tertiary institutions, are finding themselves driving taxis, not because its their fault, but they are forced by the situation.
The politician said the system has failed the youth.
Swapo-Party MP and Minister of Justice Uutoni Nujoma was the first to object to the RDP MPs statements, and questioned Naholo whether it is RDPs policy to promote lawlessness in Namibia.
In his defence, Naholo pointed out that before the traffic fines were increased from N.dollars 350 to N.dollars 1 000, many taxi drivers were not being arrested, and strikes by taxi drivers were also not common.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) Public Relations Division, Edwin Kanguatjivi on Wednesday warned that the Force has a mandate to maintain law and order, peace and security, including the protection of life and liberty.
As such, any attempt to riot, violence and/or the incitement of people to riot will be met with the necessary force, he cautioned in a media statement issued on Wednesday.
Kanguatjivi said NamPol is aware of the remarks made by the NTTU, and is also aware of peoples fundamental human rights and freedoms as guaranteed by Chapter 3, Article 21 (1) of the Namibian Constitution, in particular.
However, the same Article 21 sub-section (2) states that such freedoms shall be exercised subjected to the laws of Namibia, in the interest of, amongst others, the protection of national security, public order and decency.