Elections

 

The Republican Party says lawmakers need to act with urgency to stop the surge of senseless killings of women.

The party says that lawmakers, as a collective, want to address the issue but are faced with challenges such as a lack of financial resources and capacity.

Prompted by the spate of killings of women in the country, nbc News reached out to the chief of the police, Lieutenant General Joseph Shikongo, who two weeks ago revealed that since the start of the year, 18 women have been murdered across the country. 

Eleven of them were killed by their intimate partners. 

The number of victims recorded to the authorities has since increased to 20, after the killing of a woman at Rundu, who suffered multiple stab wounds.

Her boyfriend has since been arrested in connection with the murder.

Last week, another woman was found in her apartment in Windhoek, stabbed, tied up, and wrapped in a blanket. A suspect has been arrested and is in custody.

After the police released the statistics, the Popular Democratic Movement was the only political party to issue a statement in which they condemned the killings.

The party's women's league wrote: "Every fatality serves as a heartbreaking reminder of how urgently comprehensive measures are made to address gender-based violence."

On Friday, Lucia Tjiveze, a member of the National Assembly who also serves on the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Gender Equality, Social Development, and Family Affairs, informed nbc News that the violent crimes against women and minorities are giving her sleepless nights.

The 2020 petition to lawmakers by the Shut It All Down Movement called for stricter laws for the protection and safety of women and was referred to the committee on which Tjiveze serves.

"The problem is that we cannot go out to the people; there is always this thing that there is no money; it is not that we don't come out. I am on the gender committee to find out how many shelters are there for women who come with problems, but really, in parliament, we don't get answers. Even in the committee, I am a woman, and I am worried even about the killings of the LGBTQ, that people did not ask to be that way."

RP president Henk Mudge says the murders are concerning and incomprehensible and calls for heavy prison sentences to be handed down to those found guilty.

"There is something wrong with the mindset of men in Namibia, and that needs to change, but that has got to do with education, but I think the government, through parliament, needs to do something serious, revisit the laws, especially penalties. I feel very strongly about rape. I say life sentence, not this thing of 25 years, nothing less, not even a possibility of parole. These people must be put away forever."

In 2020, youth were manhandled and teargassed by police after they marched to Parliament and threatened to enter the building in demand that their voices be heard, further calling for urgent and immediate reform of laws to protect women.

For the past two weeks, nbc News' request for feedback regarding progress on the almost 4-year-old petition by the Shut It All Down Movement has not received any response from the administrators at the National Assembly.

The Secretary of the National Assembly, Lydia Kandedu, referred the nbc to her director, who is responsible for standing committees, who to date has not confirmed receipt of the communication, and their phones went unanswered.

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Emil Xamro Seibeb