Police acted professionally during student protest: Kanguatjivi

10 Aug 2018 06:10am
WINDHOEK, 10 AUG (NAMPA) – Students and their representative Nanso acted disorderly during their demonstration at the Government Office Park on Wednesday and law enforcement officials acted professionally by dispersing them.
This was according to Head of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) Public Relations Division, Deputy Commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi during a media conference on Thursday, to address the incident between the students and members of the Special Reserve Unit.
“In as much as fundamental rights and freedoms are guaranteed, such freedoms should not infringe on the rights and freedoms of other citizens. As such, NamPol had no choice but to disperse them, which should not have been necessary.”
The police presence was requested when the students, with the permission of the office of the Inspector-General of NamPol, marched to the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation.
“The demonstrators upon their arrival at the government office park premises demanded to meet the minister and were adamant that they want to see her after the Permanent Secretary, Alfred van Kent came to receive the petition,” Kanguatjivi said.
According to Kanguatjivi, the demonstrators further demanded to have an undertaking from the minister, Itah Kandjii-Murangi, in writing, after which four demonstrators accompanied her to her office for discussion.
The remaining students decided they would not disperse and stay put outside the ministry’s building, he said.
“They then threatened to shut down the ministry, which is a violation of Section 3(1) of the Public Gathering Proclamation of 1989, prohibiting participants in peaceful demonstration from making any utterances that are subversive to the authority of the government.”
Kanguatjivi noted that the refusal of the demonstrators to peacefully disperse after handing over the petition infringed on the right of other citizens, as they blocked the road “by sitting on it and obstructing traffic”.
Asked whether the law enforcers chased and attacked the students as claimed by some of them, Kanguatjivi said no, the students were merely dispersed.
The about 300 students petitioned Kandjii-Murangi, demanding her assurance that the contract between students and the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund, signed in 2015, stipulating the payment of 100 per cent of tuition fees and 80 per cent of non-tuition fees, be honoured.