Ndeitunga relieved ... I can finally relax
August 4, 2015, 8:18am
Ndeitunga relieved ... I can finally relax
By Theresia Tjihenuna
POLICE Inspector General Sebastian Ndeitunga said he was relieved when President Hage Geingob struck an agreement with the Affirmative Repositioning movement to make land available just before the dreaded 31 July deadline.
In a wide ranging interview with The Namibian yesterday, Ndeitunga also spoke about the communal land in Kavango which he was given by the Rukwangwali Traditional Authority and revealed that the people who took down his fence were fined 32 herd of cattle.
The AR movement had given 31 July as the deadline for local authorities to make land available or face unspecified action.
Ndeitunga told The Namibian that as the police, they had prepared for the worst since they were worried about how they would deal with land grabbers without applying force, especially after the AR leader Job Amupanda had challenged the police to kill the land activists and bury them if they had to.
“I was so relieved that I filled in my leave application forms immediately,” he said, adding that before 31 July, no police officer was allowed to take leave.
Ndeitunga, who spoke for the first time since the land situation was diffused two weeks ago, said Geingob should be commended for his mature approach on the land issue and avoiding a national catastrophe in the process.
“It was a challenge that I had to command the force. I will now relax and rest. It was a relief, not only for me but for all my colleagues in the force,” he said. “For now, we hope everything will go according to the agreed principle and approach.”
The police chief also said he has always been planning on how to prevent land grabbing with the use of minimum force and to make sure that civilians and the police understood one another.
He said Namibians have to be responsible in their unity of diversity to prevent chaotic situations in the country as law abiding citizens.
“We should always do everything within the confines of the law. It is difficult to rebuild a country and very easy to destroy it,” he said.
“We know the issue of land is a necessity to every Namibian although probably not everybody will have a piece of land. I don't believe in that [everyone owning a piece of land] because even in Brazil that has millions upon millions of hectares you still find some Brazilians not owning land. But it is the wish of everyone to have a place to call home or shelter,” he said.
Ndeitunga also said the police were proactive, that their planning was to ensure that land is not grabbed, and that any citizen who wants a piece of land should follow the laid down procedures and laws to get it.
“We have always been humane in our planning such that we have adopted strategies to negotiate and talk to people before we use minimum force. If people occupy land, the first engagement is to negotiate and talk to them to be mindful that they are engaging in an unlawful activity. If they do not want to leave then we use minimum force. You can be pushed or arrested but that situation has been avoided and we are grateful for that,” he said.
During the interview, Ndeitunga also said the police plan to open 20 more stations in the country at a cost of N$300 million.
The plan includes accommodation for police officers, which he said was on his priority list.
“We have young constables recently recruited into the police force who are still renting shacks. More than half of their salaries go to rent. We are trying to address this situation,” he said.
The force has also started plans to construct the new police headquarters that is expected to cost N$60 million and be completed within the next two years.
Ndeitunga also told The Namibian that he recently won a case that was heard in the Rukwangali Traditional Authority court involving some members of the public who had cut three kilometres of the fence around his farm in the area, claiming that he had fenced off land illegally.
“They were found guilty by the traditional authority and ordered to pay 32 cattle as punishment. They should have asked me to produce the papers that I had acquired the land legally before bringing down my fence, but they did not,” he said without elaborating whether those people had paid the fine.