Clifton Movirongo and Helena Johannes
Hundreds of protesters marched to Parliament building, demanding the resignation of Gender Equality minister, Doreen Sioka, accusing her of being ‘incompetent’ and ‘inconsistent’ in a petition which they handed to Justice minister, Yvonne Dausab.
The protesters are also demanding that President Hage Geingob declares a state of emergency on Gender-Based Violence (GBV).
“We are here to fight for the full protection of women in our societies and we want the government to introduce a GBV State of Emergency, we also want the minister of Gender to step down as we have seen that there is a level of incompetency and inconsistency in her when dealing with this high gender-based violence,” protesters leader Ndiilo Nthengwe , who also claimed to be Shannon’s close cousin told the Windhoek Observer.
This comes two days after the Namibian Police discovered human remains, believed to be that of Shannon Wasserfall who went missing nearly six months without trace. “We justice to be served for Shannon,” she said.
The protesters marched to the Windhoek Central Police station before heading to Parliament where they besieged the building before being chased out by members of the Police.
“This is our house, we do not need permission to enter Parliament,” Nthengwe said as she tried to explain what transpired during the chaos that ensued during their peaceful demonstration.
Dausab struggled to address the protesters after receiving the petition.
“I am receiving this petition not only that you are concerned, but we are concerned too. I have written to all the ministries which were affected and you will receive our response in an appropriate time.”
The protesters, however, refused to leave Parliament even after the Justice minister have received their petition.
“We are not satisfied with the answer from the Minister of Justice as we do not know when the appropriate time is. We will be here until they give us the right answer to our demands, if they failed to do so today, we will still come back tomorrow,” Nthengwe told the Windhoek Observer.
In addition to the disruptive chaos that erupted at Parliament, it is believed that a Police officer mistakenly released a tear gas canister. “The officer had mistakenly released a tear gas canister by the podium and he threw it towards us. That resulted in one the protesters being gassed, although it was a minor injury. We took it as a sign of disrespect and that they are not listening to us,” said one of the leaders of the protesters.
“Government has time for alcohol restriction due to the pandemic but when it comes to gender-based violence the efforts are not equivalent. Violence against women and minor children is a pandemic, we will not stop until they hear us and we need a state of emergency for this femicide.”