The Namibian (Windhoek)

8 February 2013

Namibia: Isaacks Apologises for Tribal Outburst

A REMORSEFUL deputy minister of mines and energy, Willem Isaacks, yesterday publicly apologised for a tribal outburst against two police officers at Berseba on January 1.

"I, Willem Isaacks, a Namibian, who at a very tender age realised the need for the liberation of my people from colonial oppression and freedom and independence of my country, would wish to humble myself before the entire nation of Namibia and would wish to tender my sincere and unconditional apology for what has been attributed as having been said by me," a downcast-looking Isaacks said from the Swapo Party head office in Windhoek yesterday afternoon.

Isaacks was accused of unleashing a verbal tirade against two senior police officers when he said: "What are you Wambos doing here? You are supposed to be in Ovamboland. I am not a Wambo minister, I am Nama."

He is also quoted as saying that he was tired of "Swapo's Owambo government", and that he did not care if the "Owambo government" removed him from his position of deputy minister.

Isaacs, who previously categorically denied having made the utterances, yesterday grudgingly acknowledged that he hurled the tribal rebukes at the two police officers. However, he still maintained that he did not say he didn't care if he was removed from his government post.

Isaacks particularly directed his apology at the police officers and those who were present at Berseba on that day.

"As a lawmaker, it is expected of me and those in similar positions of authority and trust that we protect the [Namibian] Constitution and the laws of the Republic of Namibia, and those police officers are part and parcel of the Constitution and the laws of this republic who should receive my unconditional protection and support as they go around enforcing laws of our country. I really regret my conduct during this incident," Isaacks said.

His remarks sparked a public outcry, with calls on President Hifikepunye Pohamba to sack him. Some voices from southern Namibia wanted to know what the fuss was about, saying people are not treated equally when they make tribal remarks.

Isaacks said as a fallible human being, he acknowledged having made mistakes, "sometimes very stupid mistakes", and added: "[But] the most important thing is to recognise the mistake one has made and correct it".

"I believe in the unity of the people of Namibia at various levels of our society and would wish to pledge my energy and thoughts to accomplish one day total unity of our people so as to ensure peace and development of all our people," he said.

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