30 November 2012

Namibia: Police, RDP Fight Over Tree

Oshakati — The Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) is not happy and accuse police in the Ohangwena Region of barring the party from meeting under a certain tree, which the police claim is theirs.

According to the press release issued on Wednesday by RDP secretary for information and publicity, Jeremiah Nambinga, police in the Ohangwena Region have banned RDP members from holding a meeting under a tree at the village of Ohenghono. Nambinga says the incident took place on October 29, 2012.

"RDP members at Ohenghono, like other members of other political parties had identified a tree under which to conduct their activities. To the RDP's Ohangwena regional leadership's surprise, upon arrival they found two police vehicles and about 20 members of the police blocking the venue of the meeting and threatening to arrest anyone who dared to convene the meeting," he said.

He says the police action is intimidation from the Swapo Party to prevent RDP from carrying out its political activities. However, a letter signed by Ohangwena Police Regional Commander Commissioner, Tylves Kampolo, says the land where the RDP wanted to meet belonged to the police.

In the letter, Kampolo says the land was given to the Ministry of Safety and Security by the Ohenghono village headman in 2003 and the police established a station there, but it was removed later because of the water shortage in the area.

"The fact that the police camp has been moved further to the border does not mean the site is forsaken; it remains the property of the Namibian Police where a substation will be built. The Namibian Police is apolitical, hence your continuous use of the property and hosting of your political party's flag is undesirable," stated Kampolo's letter.

He further maintained his officers did not block the area as claimed by the RDP, but certain RDP leaders were invited to the police regional headquarters where they were informed about the issue. A letter from the police and a copy of the land ownership was also handed to the members.

"We did not block them from entering the area. In fact, we don't have time to send all 20 police officers to a tree just to block RDP (members)," Kampolo stated in the letter.

Kampolo further advised the RDP to approach the Ohenghono village headman for land of their own since the village headman was prepared to give them a piece of land.

"We therefore request you to lower your flags from our property and transfer them to the venue that the headman of the area would give you," said Kampolo. Nambinga said RDP members who planned the meeting were aware that a police camp used to be situated at that site, but since they moved out, they did not leave any sign that shows that the same land still belongs to the police.

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