Namibia dismisses human rights report

Prime Minister Nahas Angula, who officiated at the launch of the report Wednesday said that Namibia’s democratic process was “dynamic, self-regulating and unassailable”.

He accused the NSHR of coming up with a report which lacks “independence’ and was heavily ‘opionionated”.

He said that government has been firm in fighting corruption and in the “promotion of an accountable and transparent government”.

The annual human rights catalogue accused the government for failing to deliver on the social front and failing to tackle the HIV/AIDS scourge, ballooning budget for the military and a weak education system.

The human rights watchdog also questioned government’s construction of a N$500 million state house and a N$60 million film of the heroic struggles launched by the ruling party SWAPO to topple the repressive arpatheid regime.

“Do we need such an expensive new state house costing over N$500 million (about US$71 million) and must government finance a film project costing over N$60 million,” NSHR director Phil ya Nangoloh asked.

The NSHR said it recorded 12 cases of torture and other inhumane treatment by the police, 27 cases of discrimination, 34 cases of violation of freedom of expression.

“The Caprivi secessionist question should have been resolved through political dialogue before it becomes a very serious problem,” Ya Nangoloh said.

About 12 men from the Caprivi region are currently in remand prison after they were implicated in a plan to violently cede the Caprivi region from the rest of Namibia.

But Angula, who was at the launch, fired back accusing the human rights watchdog of distorting facts and concocting false accusations against the SWAPO party.

“The government appreciates oversights by non-state actors such as NHSR. However, we expect such institutions to be truly independent, non-partisan and professional. It appears the NSHR is far from these criteria,” Angula, one of the top intellectuals in the Namibian cabinet said.

“Namibia’s democratic dispensation is dynamic, self-regulating and unassailable,” Angula added.

The report also alleges that a ‘powerful’ elite had usurped state apparatus and was ‘seemingly eager to manipulate and take advantage of both the weak national democratic institutions and the unsuspecting and often scared public.’

Angula said such statements in the report are “conjectures of personal opinion not supported by facts” adding that “claims like that make the whole report suspect and untrustworthy.”

“It is one thing to identify erring individuals, it is another to accuse the whole system,” Angula stated.

October 2006
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