By Lahja Nashuuta
The killing of the 22 year-old Fambauone ‘Talent’ Black by a member of Namibia Defence Force during an ‘Operation Kalahari Desert’ patrol in Windhoek, Katutura has left the community shocked, even more so after government failed to apologise or assist with the repatriation costs of the late Black’s remains to Zimbabwe.
Last week the public was in uproar after images of Black’s casket, loaded on top of a minibus trailer, together with other belongings and luggage of commuters from Windhoek to Harare on Friday afternoon, start circulating on social media.
A reliable source told The Patriot that although the family managed to raise N$30 000, the money was still not sufficient to fly the casket of the late Black who was an undocumented immigrant as well as to attend to burial cost in Zimbabwe.
The source further said that neither the government of Namibia nor Zimbabwean Embassy to Namibia assisted them with anything. Black was shot on the head after he tried to make a U-turn to avoid the mini roadblock erected by ‘Operation Kalahari Desert’ members in Katutura’s Greenwell Matongo area.
Since the death of Black, social media has been afloat with public opinions from both the Zimbabwean community in Namibia as well as political experts criticising the government for not taking responsibility neither rendering an apology to the family and the entire Zimbabwe as a nation and as a member of SADC, especially since President Hage Geingob is the Chairperson of SADC currently.
Professor Nico Horn has described the killing of the taxi driver by the member of the Namibian army as government negligence and ignorance that has put the country to shame.
Horn said government’s decision to use the members of the army to do police work without training them on policing is unacceptable and needs to stop.
“The police and army are two different professionals and were not supposed to be used to do the same work. The army was trained for war and does not know how to work with the public. There is nothing wrong using the army to do police work, but the people are supposed to be trained on how to do police work” he said.
According to the Namibia Police Act, no 19, 1990, the members of the police are responsible for maintaining public order and safety, enforcing the law and preventing, detecting, and investigating criminal activities.
While the role of Defence Act as per Act 1 of 2002 and the Namibian constitution, the Defence Force’s main roles are to ensure the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Namibia, provide assistance to civil authorities and the community and to assist in the process of reconciliation.
Horn further criticised the way the government acted undiplomatically and showed no remorse on the killing of the Zimbabwean immigrant by the army.
He said that so far no letter of apology was issued from the President’s office and that the government also failed to take responsibility for its action.
“The country was expecting the government to issue an apology to the family and the entire Zimbabwean community as well as to ensure the decent repatriation of the body to Zimbabwe, but that never happened,” he said.
He describes the transportation of the remaining on the taxi trailer as unacceptable and inhumane especially in a case where the state is responsible for the death that person.
“I also fail to understand why the Ambassador of Namibia to Zimbabwe did not visit that family in Zimbabwe and why the Zimbabwean ambassador in Namibia is also quiet” he said.
Responding to The Patriot inquiry to why the government did not apologise, Dr Alfredo Hengari Press Secretary and Presidential Advisor denied the allegations stating that the President has indeed sent his condolences to the Black family and the people of Zimbabwe, whereby he expressed his regret that a life was lost in the hands of the Kalahari Desert Operation while trying to prevent crimes and ensured that that will never happen.
He further said the killing of the Zimbabwean taxi driver by the member of Kalahari Desert operation will not affect the long relationship between Namibia and Zimbabwe.
Hengari concluded by saying that he will not comment further as the matter is now before the court.