Police approved protest against high unemployment on Independence Day

Stefanus Nashama

The Namibian Police Force has approved a demonstration against high unemployment in the country, planned for 21 March, the day Namibia celebrates Independence Day.

However, the approval comes with strict conditions concerning the Public Gatherings Proclamation Act, of 1989 (AG 23 OF 1989).

This is according to a letter from the Inspector-General of the Namibian Police Force, Lieutenant General, Joseph Shikongo, last week.

“You are hereby directed to engage your participants and inform them of the appended conditions accordingly,” said the Police Chief.

Failure to adhere to the appended conditions constitutes a criminal offence in terms of Section 3(4) of the Public Gatherings Proclamation, he added.

Shikongo was responding to Namibia Economic Freedom Fighter’s request for such a demonstration on 21 March 2024, the day Namibia commemorates its independence.

Emphasising the appended conditions, Shikongo pointed out that it is legally and reasonable that such conditions are imposed during the demonstration, to ensure the police fulfil its Constitutional mandate to secure internal security and maintain law and order in the country.

“The Namibian Police Force is legally obliged to ensure that public gatherings or demonstrations safe and hosted in an orderly manner,” he stated.

Adding that Section 5 of the Public Gatherings Proclamation empowers members of the police to disperse the gathering if it becomes a riot.

Namibians, through NEFF, last year expressed their discomfort with the unemployment situation, especially among the youth, in the country.

A similar demonstration took place on 21 March last year, which resulted in the arrest and detention of activist Michael Amushelelo, Dembulukeni Nauyoma, and Popular Democratic Movement Parliamentarian, Inna Hengari.

Yesterday, Amushelelo informed the media that the 21 March 2024 protest against high unemployment is legal, urging all unemployed people in the country to sympathise with the unemployed ones.

According to Amushelelo, it is a shame for the country to waste millions of dollars on such a day while people are hungry and unemployed.

He said those in Windhoek, should gather at Katutura Complex from 08h00 and proceed to Zoo Park where they will hand over a petition, and submit their CVs to all government agencies at Zoo Park on the demonstration day.

This year, Independence Day will, for the first time, be commemorated in Katima Mulilo in Zambezi Region.

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