Swapo backs shebeen clampdown

Swapo backs shebeen clampdown

SWAPO President Sam Nujoma yesterday condemned shebeen owners and members of the public for attacking Police and called on Government to take strong action against the culprits.

.Addressing a media briefing, Nujoma said Swapo supported and encouraged people to involve themselves in business enterprises – but only when they were legal. “It is against this background that the Swapo Party leadership strongly condemns the violent actions of some shebeen owners at Omuthiya-Gwiipundi who attacked the Police officers when advising them not to open shebeens and sell liquor without licences,” Nujoma said.His statement put to rest claims on national chat shows that Nujoma did not support the Police action and that it was only President Hifikepunye Pohamba who pushed the Police to close down illegal shebeens.Some of those callers claimed that Nujoma had been aware of loopholes in the law and thus did not encourage the Police to take action while he was in office.The Liquor Act, which bans illegal sales of alcohol, was passed in 1998 and Government claims shebeen owners had more than six years to get licences.On Tuesday, Safety and Security Minister Peter Tsheehama vowed that the Police would close down all unlicensed liquor outlets in Namibia until the law was changed by Parliament.Tsheehama said a group, instigated by two soldiers and a Police officer, attacked the Police at Omuthiya in the North and they had to fire rubber bullets and teargas to disperse people.Corporal Efraim Shimwe from the Luederitz Army Base, Private Joseph Kristof from the Rundu Army Base and Police Constable Paulus Shipwata were arrested and are being kept at the Ondangwa Police holding cells.The fourth person arrested was shebeen owner Naftal Nakashwa.Tsheehama said Police were not acting on their own when clamping down on illegal operators and would only stop if otherwise advised by Parliament, which passed the law.At Omuthiya, Police were said to have injured at least 10 people.Tsheehama said two members of the public and three Police officers were slightly injured by stones during the fracas.Nujoma said Swapo supported small and medium enterprise (SME) development and encouraged them to take part in legal business activities.”However, all SME operators must conduct their businesses within the prescriptions of the law and those distributing and selling liquor must obtain licenses from the authorities in the areas where they operate,” he said.He said the role of the Police was to protect citizens and thus Government needed to take strong action against those who attacked them or carry out criminal activities.”Sustained economic development can only take place in a structured and orderly environment where both business people and the customers can enjoy the services and products produced and traded in harmony and under due respect of law and order,” Nujoma said.”It is against this background that the Swapo Party leadership strongly condemns the violent actions of some shebeen owners at Omuthiya-Gwiipundi who attacked the Police officers when advising them not to open shebeens and sell liquor without licences,” Nujoma said.His statement put to rest claims on national chat shows that Nujoma did not support the Police action and that it was only President Hifikepunye Pohamba who pushed the Police to close down illegal shebeens.Some of those callers claimed that Nujoma had been aware of loopholes in the law and thus did not encourage the Police to take action while he was in office.The Liquor Act, which bans illegal sales of alcohol, was passed in 1998 and Government claims shebeen owners had more than six years to get licences.On Tuesday, Safety and Security Minister Peter Tsheehama vowed that the Police would close down all unlicensed liquor outlets in Namibia until the law was changed by Parliament.Tsheehama said a group, instigated by two soldiers and a Police officer, attacked the Police at Omuthiya in the North and they had to fire rubber bullets and teargas to disperse people.Corporal Efraim Shimwe from the Luederitz Army Base, Private Joseph Kristof from the Rundu Army Base and Police Constable Paulus Shipwata were arrested and are being kept at the Ondangwa Police holding cells.The fourth person arrested was shebeen owner Naftal Nakashwa.Tsheehama said Police were not acting on their own when clamping down on illegal operators and would only stop if otherwise advised by Parliament, which passed the law.At Omuthiya, Police were said to have injured at least 10 people.Tsheehama said two members of the public and three Police officers were slightly injured by stones during the fracas.Nujoma said Swapo supported small and medium enterprise (SME) development and encouraged them to take part in legal business activities.”However, all SME operators must conduct their businesses within the prescriptions of the law and those distributing and selling liquor must obtain licenses from the authorities in the areas where they operate,” he said.He said the role of the Police was to protect citizens and thus Government needed to take strong action against those who attacked them or carry out criminal activities.”Sustained economic development can only take place in a structured and orderly environment where both business people and the customers can enjoy the services and products produced and traded in harmony and under due respect of law and order,” Nujoma said.

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