The Namibian (Windhoek)

19 December 2012

Namibia: UN Parking Closed for Security Reasons

KLEIN Windhoek shoppers are up in arms over the loss of parking space at a United Nations office in the vicinity of Otto Nitzsche Street opposite Woermann Brock.

According to Fritz Mecker, who approached the newspaper, traffic congestion in this area has now become a huge problem and a source of great frustration for those who do their shopping there.

According to Mecker "the conceited United Nations organisation had the audacity to initiate this crackpot and selfish action with the City of Windhoek for vague 'security' reasons".

He asks, "why are they panicking, and why should a Windhoek resident be inconvenienced to allay the fears of a handful of nervous desk jockeys and paper tigers in a glass palace?"

Hörst Lisse of the City of Windhoek on inquiry said the municipality "received a request from the Ministry of Safety and Security as a national safety issue. The UN considers themselves a target and it is in the interest of the UN, the shoppers and the residents as well that the decision to close off the parking space has been taken. These are only preliminary measures and we are in consultation with the shop owners in the area."

The parking space was closed in August-September this year.

According to Mecker, "from a logical perspective, this [UN] building is totally unsuitable for its intended function and in the wrong location. If security of the occupants were a concern, it should definitely not have been planned and erected in a business-residential area with narrow access routes and limited facilities in the first place, and beyond doubt not as a multi-storey building with huge glass windows".

Mecker says UN staff now have to park in the Woermann Brock parking lot.

The head of security at the Windhoek UN office, Johnny Katzao, referred The Namibian to the NamPol Inspector General, who he said is "spearheading this project."

Nampol's Inspector General, Lieutenant General Sebastian Ndeitunga, told The Namibian: "I do not know about this. Maybe the UN is the one who has taken this decision because of threat from terrorism, but I myself have never given the instruction for a municipality area to be closed off, why would I do that?"

Ndeitunga said he would contact his officers on the ground to get to the bottom of the issue.

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