Check your rights
NAMIBIANS are talking about the death penalty again.
It’s to be expected after a particularly brutal spate of killings of women and children by men and the state. But we have to understand our laws and rights first before we drag someone off to the gallows. You know, rights, those things Swapo think they allow us to have. Article 21 of the Namibian Constitution deals with our ‘Fundamental Freedoms’.
It states, in sub article one, all persons shall have the right to:
• Freedom of speech and expression, which shall include freedom of the press and other media;
• Freedom of thought, conscience and belief, which shall include academic freedom in institutions of higher learning;
However, we wrongly believe it means that we can offer constructive criticism to elected leaders. Well, you can, if you
want to be called all sorts of names and your commitment to the country questioned by people who believe that you can’t be a real Namibian if you don’t own a Swapo scarf. We also believe that anyone who once read a publication should start one, misinterpreting the freedom of the media part. We see the result of that flawed assumption weekly.
We have yet to think about what we should think about freedom of thought. Lecturers believe academic freedom affords them the right to allocate marks on the basis of the pleasure they derive from their students.
• Freedom to practise any religion and to manifest such practice;
Unfortunately the people believe you can practice any religion as long as it is Christianity in all its shades of unquestioning including Catholicism, happy-clappyism and all the shades in between. The politicians think it means you should practice any religion as long as it’s done in a Christian church with struggle credentials.
• Assemble peaceably and without arms;
Have you notice how many ‘peaceful demonstrations’ the newspapers report on regularly? And we do. Even if we’re severely pissed-off, we remain peaceful. Otherwise we assemble regularly at shebeens and lose our arms and other body parts, our children, wives and our common sense. Sometimes we get drunk and want to assemble ‘un-peaceably’ and forcibly with women and they lose their arms, eyes and lives if they refuse. How do you hoeka hold a placard with no arms.
• Freedom of association, which shall include freedom to form and join associations or unions, including trade unions and political parties;
Talk about the letter and spirit of the Constitution. We’ve perfected the art of acquiring membership of political parties, unions etc. But so far it’s been only the union leadership who have become millionaires, politicians who’ve secured themselves jobs for decades while we, the people, only serve as voting cattle for these smart people.
• Withhold their labour without being exposed to criminal
What a lie! You don’t rock up for work and toi-toi about higher wages at the gate today and still expect to have
a job tomorrow.
• Move freely throughout Namibia; Yes, you can, but being a tourist in your own country is hard work if you’re not a
• Reside and settle in any part of Namibia;
Lies, lies, blatant lies! Can my white comrade erect his kaya somewhere in the Uukwaluudhi kingdom or at Okahao? Also, you must be the PS of the Lands Ministry to qualify for a resettlement farm.
• Leave and return to Namibia;
Mishake Muyongo might violently disagree with this one.You might also find it quite difficult to do so without a passport and for that privilege you have to manoeuvre the labyrinth that is Home Affairs. I can only wish you good luck and advise that you take something strong to calm you the f%^k down if you are due for a visit to that stink hole.
• Practise any profession, or carry on any occupation, trade or business.
Is the Constitution taking the piss? I don’t see the part where it forces the government to educate and train the people so they can be suitably skilled and qualified for jobs.
Anyway, with such a gorgeous set of rights it boggles the mind why we don’t flourish and why we are considered so miserable.