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China slowdown's impact on Namibia

Photo: WEF

China, the world's second largest economy, has been undergoing an economic slowdown that is likely to persist until the end of the year, and Namibia is affected too.


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      Beyond the Black and White Divide

      by Editorial Team

      Photo: Contributed

      While MANY were celebrating Mother's Day on Sunday, Anne-Marie !Aochamus received no pampering of flowers, gifts, or simply an “I love you, Mom” from her daughter.

      Nine-year-old Hendrina Mupolo died a few days earlier after being chased around and run over by a bakkie.

      !Aochamus was still reeling from the shock telling journalists she cannot understand what wrong her daughter committed to be killed in such a callous manner.

      The killing of Mupolo has reignited nationwide racially charged debates about the justice system, and in some areas how the media covers stories across the racial divide.

      Comparisons were drawn between the alleged killer of the young girl, Johan Meyer, and another incident in which a black man allegedly killed the renowned sport personality Gerhard Mans in an accident allegedly stemming from reckless driving.

      Jafet Paulus, who reportedly killed Mans, was arrested on the spot, held in custody during the weekend and subsequently denied bail.

      Meyer, who allegedly hunted down Mupolo and crushed her with his powerful bakkie, appeared in court two days later and was granted bail of N$3 000.

      The uproar boiled down to how racist the justice system is in the treatment of the two accused.

      Why was Meyer not arrested and denied bail despite the apparent deliberate act of chasing and crushing Mupolo, who was trying to get a meal for the family?

      Why was Paulus detained and denied bail? Is it because one victim was black and the other white?

      The public is unlikely to get answers.

      Race may have played a role.

      But systemic problems in a society cannot be solved by comparing two dissimilar incidents that occurred 250km apart.

      Paulus, who allegedly killed Mans, was said to be involved in a police chase at the time of the incident, already suggesting a flight risk.

      As for Meyer, it is alleged he may have gotten soft treatment from the criminal justice system because his wife is a prosecutor.

      The Namibian is on record reporting on several cases of the children of black senior police officers and the prosecutor general's office who have allegedly had serious crimes quashed – most likely due to their proximity to power.

      We have also argued that arrest and detention should not be misused by the police to exact punishment that serves no justice or the interest of the public

      We believe the most concerning issue (in addition to apartheid legacies) is the latest class divide and moral decay in Namibia.

      That the poorest of people are treated like trash is becoming more common.

      We live in an unequal society in which people of high economic and social standing as well as closeness to power flaunt their privileges with gay abandon.

      They do not fear the consequences of their wrong, illegal or unlawful actions – well aware of the automatic protection they can draw on.

      What they allegedly fear is seeing others empowered, which they assume would result in a loss. In fact, the opposite is true –– greater equity and equality for the have-nots do not mean less for the haves.

      These perceptions explain the ever-growing polarisation of Namibian society.

      If reports are correct, Meyer's behaviour towards the poor who were harvesting beans in his field unauthorised shows the carelessness with which the rich treat the poor.

      The fact that Mupolo died while fending for food together with other family members is a manifestation of the unequal society in which we live.

      In a caring society, their trespassing would have been addressed differently.

      So bad is the polarisation that the debate in the country is focused on race, while missing the sad reality that !Aochamus and her family cannot even get access to basic food.

      Justice for Mupolo and her family should thus go beyond the court of law.

      This case should be an opportunity for the government to atone for Mupolo's death and those of many others by equitably distributing resources and creating opportunities that reduce the risk of Namibians being run down like dogs while fending for their survival.


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