Second unemployment protest planned for Independence Day 2024

Stefanus Nashama

Gregory Cloete, Head of Planning and Mobilization for the Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters (NEFF), has officially informed the Namibian Police Force about a nationwide peaceful protest against unemployment scheduled for 21 March 2024.

Cloete’s decision to notify the police well in advance stems from concerns over the violation of fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the Namibian Constitution.

He referred specifically to Chapter 3, Article 21 (1) (d) of the Namibian Constitution, which asserts that all individuals have the right to assemble peaceably and without arms.

“We are giving the Namibian Police enough time to ensure that they will mobilise sufficient resources and manpower to ensure that we can exercise our Fundamental Freedoms to assemble peaceably and without arms,” emphasized Cloete.

This is not the first time such a protest has been organized; a similar demonstration took place in March 2023. Activists Micheal Amushelelo, Dimbulukeni Nauyoma, and parliamentarian Inna Hengari were arrested and detained for their role in organizing the protest.

At the time, they were ordered by the Magistrate Court to select a different date for their demonstration, separate from the Independence Day commemoration on 21 March.

Cloete accused the police of using excessive force against unarmed protesters during the previous year’s demonstration.

He also stressed the denial of fundamental freedom to protest, citing reasons such as insufficient resources and manpower.

“The brutality was so severe that a pregnant woman, who was assaulted by the police, lost her baby due to injuries she sustained,” Cloete claimed.

He drew parallels between the scenes from this year’s protest against high unemployment and the Sharpeville Massacre, where 69 people were killed while demonstrating against pass laws in South Africa in 1960.

Meanwhile, Michale Amushelelo commented on the need to address unemployment in the country, emphasizing that celebrating Independence Day with state resources while people suffer from joblessness is unjustifiable.

“We can’t be wasting money to celebrate Independence Day when our people are still living in poverty because they don’t have decent-paying jobs to provide for themselves and their families,” Amushelelo said.

The Namibian Police’s Spokesperson, Deputy Commissioner Kauna Shikwambi, confirmed the receipt of the protest notification, stating that it was received by the Office of the Inspector General.

Related Posts