Church leader appeals for calm after struggle unrest

28 Aug 2014 14:30pm
WINDHOEK, 28 AUG (NAMPA) – A Windhoek-based spiritual leader on Thursday appealed to the entire 'Children of the Liberation Struggle' group to avoid any further confrontation with Namibian Police Force (NamPol) members.
Rev. Ngeno Nakamhela of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN)'s Inner City Congregation asked the 'aggrieved struggle kids' to stay calm, and avoid any further confrontation with the police at this time of mourning the death of their colleague Frieda Ndatipo, who was shot by the police on Wednesday morning.
The clergyman said at a prayer session held at the corner of Leonard Auala and Hans-Dietrich Genscher Streets - where the police shot Ndatipo dead yesterday - that “all the people with powers should use their powers responsibly, without engaging in the killing of other people”.
He added: “please, try by all means to avoid any further confrontation with the police. Please, stay calm and behave responsibly. We cannot afford to lose another innocent life in the same manner that we lost Frieda Ndatipo on Wednesday.
Let the Mighty God gives us more power and strength to stay calm until such a time that we bury Frieda Ndatipo.
Let us not do something bad anymore. Peace must prevail in our hearts. Please, Let the Mighty God show us all the right road to justice”, stressed Nakamhela.
Close to 60 'struggle kids' were present at the prayer session and attentively listened to the advice, while the majority also promised the church leader that they would at all costs avoid any further confrontation with the police from now onwards.
Ndatipo, 26, was shot dead by police in the streets of the capital, allegedly after a scuffle with the authorities over the group’s right to march to the Swapo-Party headquarters.
Ndatipo, a mother of three minor children, died on the spot.
She was shot and killed during a scuffle which apparently erupted between the ‘struggle kids’ and members of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) on those streets, just a few metres from the Swapo-Party’s headquarters in Katutura.
The deceased was part of a group of about 30 youths, widely known as the ‘struggle kids’, who had decided to march to the ruling party’s headquarters yesterday, despite warnings from the police that no such march would be allowed.
The struggle kids marched nonetheless, and this led to the confrontation with the police.
The body of the deceased young woman was later taken to the police mortuary, and arrangements for her funeral are not yet known.
Meanwhile, Windhoek Police Crime Investigations’ Coordinator, Commissioner Sylvanus Nghishidimbwa and Senior Superintendent of the City Police and Emergency Management Department Gerry Shikesho, who were both at the scene, refused to provide the media with details of the shooting incident.
“I cannot give any information to media practitioners at the moment,” said Nghishidimbwa.
Jesaya Keendjele, one the 'struggle kids' interviewed by reporters at the scene, said their planned march to the ruling party’s headquarters was meant to be a peaceful event, and they are unable to understand why the police opened fire on them.
“We (struggle kids) always march to the Swapo-Party head offices on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. We’ve been doing this every week. Our march was not violent.
However, there was a scuffle between the police and some of our members. Some of the struggle kids threw stones at the police, and all of a sudden we heard gunshots. The result is that one of our comrades was shot and killed,” explained Keendjele.
This particular group of the ‘Children of the Liberation Struggle’ has been roaming the capital and engaging in marches and demonstrations since 2013, demanding preferential treatment in the allocation of job opportunities within Government structures.
However, the ruling Swapo-Party leadership has often been quoted as saying that all Namibian youths need jobs and other opportunities in the wake of the high unemployment rate, drought, high standards of living and abject poverty affecting the majority of the citizenry.
The ‘Children of the Liberation Struggle’ have put up makeshift dwellings and are currently residing in the bushes along Hereford Street on the northern periphery of the capital.
The camp now has about 300 illegal tents.