Simon Sheuya Dumeni, 24, was engaged in a five-year study for architecture and mechanical engineering in Algeria. A local English daily reported that: “The skimpy detail received thus far suggests that Dumeni was arrested after he apparently wondered ‘too close’ to a military base in an Algerian town. Upon appearing in court, the Namibian student allegedly behaved in an unruly manner, earning himself a one-year prison sentence.”
That means either he was used to spy for someone (a mercenary) or he is a victim of the two governments [Namibian and Algeria]. The two governments claimed innocence of knowing the whereabouts of Dumeni whom they exchanged for “study” when he mysteriously disappeared. The Government of the Republic of Namibia (GRN) should be the guardian of these students when they are in foreign states and should take full responsibilities.
It is unlikely that one can stroll too close (within 500 meter radius) of a military base without any (bad) intentions and get harshly punished unfairly, while the country of origin just watches.
Even if the person was intoxicated or lost the way that will not make him a confirmed security threat. What is it that he attempted to do that deserved him a one-year sentence? The Algerian authorities cannot arrest an innocent young man for nothing. The two governments need to clarify this scandal!
Reading his story, it looks like the Algerian authorities have not much responsibility over this person but only the facilitation of entry documents. Are these universities, which the Namibian government is sending our people to private or State-owned? I have seen many adverts inviting Namibian youths to study in Russia, Malaysia, China, Cuba, etc.
Looking at the way the United Kingdom (UK) and United States (US) organise their study requirements (internships) for their citizens, they make sure their citizens are protected; they have accommodation, they have allowances, they have medical insurance and their diplomatic missions are in constant contact with them. There are requirements like the ‘English test’ before one qualifies to study there and students who come to Namibia for their internship have an organisation yhere that arranges for and manages for their arrivals, stays and departures.
Why not Namibia?
Previously, I have read reports or articles about Namibian students stranded on foreign soil due to lack of financial support by Namibian authorities as there are no agreements for those countries to carry the burden. Some were alleged to have resorted to prostitution or criminal acts.
I strongly believe the Dumeni issue was just a wake-up call for Namibian authorities to reconsider the way it handles and sends out Namibians abroad for studies. The State has a responsibility to take care of all its citizens wherever they may be.