Namibians still divided as a society: Walters

09 Jun 2017 17:50pm
WINDHOEK, 09 JUN (NAMPA) – Namibians are still divided along racial and tribal lines despite government’s push for inclusivity, Ombudsman John Walters has said.
Walters made these remarks here on Friday at the conclusion of the first session in a string of hearings lined up across the country on racism, tribalism and discrimination in general.
The hearings, which are being facilitated by the Office of the Ombudsman, started in the capital on Tuesday and will now take place in various regions.
The gatherings are meant to solicit public perceptions, understanding and suggestions for the formulation of legal regulations against racism.
Walters said the hearings concluded that the Namibian society has not unlearned old patterns and are prejudiced towards each other.
He noted that although President Hage Geingob invited all Namibians into one house, many Namibians are excluded.
The Ombudsman made reference to a presentation earlier on that some children are uncomfortable to go to school and drop out of school, because of corporal punishment that is still rife in some schools.
“Legislative and amendments are needed, but legislation alone cannot prevent, eradicate and eliminate racism and racial discrimination. We, Namibians, must take hands and move forward,” he said.
In her closing remarks, Director of the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC) Toni Hancox, who was a panelist during the discussions, said the hearings revealed that Namibians still harbour deep pain inherited from pre-independence Namibia.
She noted that other countries have dealt with the issue in different ways, such as through the establishment of commissions such as the truth and reconciliation commission in South Africa.
“I do not know which path Namibia should follow, but we need to talk,” Hancox noted.
The LAC director therefore encouraged the youth to work on issues on racial discrimination and tribalism, to understand one another and being accepting of people’s differences.