Windhoek — The chief of the Kai-//Khaun Traditional Authority, Peter Kooper, took a bold step recently of using the community's annual traditional festival as the platform to address challenges facing his community.
Chief Kooper chose to invite Inspector-General of the Namibian Police Force Lieutenant-General Sebastian Ndeitunga to address the community. Chief Kooper's community at Hoachanas, in the Hardap Region, is experiencing an unprecedented upsurge in crimes of opportunity and other more serious crimes, while certain sections of the community are refusing to recognise the customary laws and ordinances of the traditional authority.
Police statistics indicate that of all crimes reported in the Hardap Region, a disproportionate number were from Hoachanas.
According to the police, most of the reported crimes were rooted in alcohol abuse. "It (alcohol) is on record as one of the leading factors for most of the criminal activities perpetrated against our people. The crimes include murder, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, rape, woman and child abuse, gender-based violence, unlawful discharge of firearms, reckless and negligent driving and alcohol also contributes to the spread of HIV/AIDS among our people", Ndeitunga told a packed community hall at Hoachanas.
He appealed for joint initiatives between the police and the community such as neighbourhood watches, public relations committees, youth against crime forums, police reservists, farmers' associations against crime and so forth.
"Police alone cannot manage rooting out criminals without the involvement of the community," he said.
The annual Hoachanas Traditional Festival took place on November 30 to December 02. Chief Kooper highlighted the good cooperation between the community and the police in the area, emphasising that he is proud to have a female station commander who understands the plight of the community. He said that people are now happy to go to the police station to lay charges, because they know that they are going to be treated with respect.
In attendance were the tribal chiefs of the Nama clans from the Hardap, Karas and Erongo regions. The chief of the â€¡Aonin clan in the Erongo Region, Chief Seth Kooitjie, pleaded for unity among the Nama tribes, saying that there is a need to commemorate the annual festival in unison at one place where all Nama people could come together to respect their tribal rituals and respect their heroes and heroines in one spirit and one venue.
He also handed over a document containing information on the origin and history of the Kai-//Khaun tribe and the physical area of Hoachanas before colonial times. "It was exactly on this day, December 1, over a hundred years ago when Captain Mannase !Noreseb was brutally killed by the German troops at Gobabis and his head taken to Germany," said Chief Kooper when addressing the community.