Kawana tasked to explain prisoners escaping from lawful custody

Stefanus Nashama

Popular Democratic Movement Parliamentarian, Hidipo Hamata, is expecting the Minister of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security, Albert Kawana, to explain to the public how some inmates managed to escape from lawful custody at some correctional facilities.

“The minister owes the public an explanation how these escapes are happening,” he said.

Hamata, who put his notice of questions to Kawana in Parliament this week, said the Minister also owes the public an explanation.

The Parliamentarian said Kawana, should indicate how the Ministry will deal with the matter.

He also wanted to know what operational and security improvements the Ministry has made to prevent instances of escape.

“The Minister should tell the public about management practices and physical security features and systems to maintain the environment at correctional facilities across the country,” he said.

Hamata noted that inmates breach the security of a prison and escape while under the direct control of a correctional officer.

“I understand some escapes happen while inmates are under escort, and when they are being prepared to travel to and from courts or hospitals,” said Hamata.

According to him, Chinese national, Wang Hui, who in October 2022 escaped from the Windhoek Correctional facility is a serious concern for the public.

Local media reported that Hiu was serving a 15-year sentence for the illegal export of controlled wildlife products.

He is still on the run.

Hamata stressed that the escape of Hiu is a serious concern as his case is completely a violation of Namibian law on the protection of wildlife nature. At the same time, Hamata claims Hiu made a spin with an officer guarding him to use a toilet and sneaked out from the toilet without being detected.

The Parliamentarian also noted about the case involving a 36-year-old man who escaped from the Windhoek Correctional facility in May 2022 by climbing the facility wall.

It was also reported that there were no officers in the unit at the time of the escape.

A 32-year-old man was also reported to have been re-arrested after escaping from the control of an officer at the Windhoek Central Hospital in July 2023 while he was seeking medical attention.

“All the said escapes require urgent involvement of the Minister and the Ministry to address the matter,” said Hamata.

Hamata is also concerned about how inmates escape while under the full control of officers who are trained to look after them.

He is of the view that such escapes may develop public feeling to terminate the trust in officers in control of inmates at correctional facilities.

“This is not good for our country, and the Ministry should give its position concerning these escapes,” added.

Hamata noted that understaffing may also be one of the leading issues and the Minister should indicate where they stand and how ready they are to deal with such a crisis.

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