The Namibian (Windhoek)

4 January 2013

Namibia: Tjombe Demands for Isaack's Resignation

HUMAN Rights Lawyer, Norman Tjombe, says if the comments of the Deputy Minister of Mines and Energy Willem Isaack are true, he should resign, and if not, President Hifikepunye Pohamba should immediately relieve him of his duties.

Tjombe said in a statement released yesterday afternoon that the minister's remarks are nothing but incitement of racial disharmony.

According to him, the Namibian constitution specifically outlawed racial disharmony, and said the deputy minister was in dereliction of his constitutional obligation to remain vigilant and vigorous for the purposes of ensuring that the scourges of apartheid, tribalism and colonialism do not manifest themselves again in any form in a free and independent Namibia.

"There is a big difference between a healthy and sober debate on tribalism and racism, and outright tribalism and racism. The deputy minister's remarks (if they are indeed true) have nothing to do with a debate. He is in fact demanding that police officers of a particular ethnic origin not be present at either that meeting or anywhere else other than 'Owamboland'," he said.

Tjombe said it is a criminal offence under Namibia's Prohibition of Racial Discrimination Act of 1991, in particular Section 11.

This provides that no person shall publicly use any language or publish or distribute any written matter or display any article or do any act or thing with intent to threaten, ridicule or insult any person or group of persons on the ground that such person or persons belong to a particular racial group or cause, encourage or incite disharmony or feelings of hostility, hatred or ill will between different racial groups or persons belonging to different racial groups or disseminate ideas based on racial superiority.

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