19 February 2013

Namibia: Top Cop Says Miniskirts Are Not African

NAMIBIAN Police Inspector General Sebastian Ndeitunga has warned women to refrain from wearing miniskirts that are "too short and revealing" in public because it's not acceptable in the African culture.

Ndeitunga told The Namibian yesterday that the police do not want to interfere in citizens' constitutional freedom but there is a "need to underline the importance of culture, especially to our young people and that includes what they wear". Those wearing "revealing" clothes will be arrested, Ndeitunga warned.

Nampa recently reported that more than 40 girls were arrested at Rundu over the past festive season after they were spotted wearing hot-pants.

The police said wearing these very short pants amounted to public indecency. The girls were held overnight and released the next morning after being warned in the presence of their parents not to appear in public "half naked", which was said to amount to public indecency.

Ndeitunga said the same would be done in the rest of Namibia.

"Those who are behaving outside the normal tradition of an African will be dealt with. At Rundu, both traditional and political leaders were happy and supported our actions," he said.

Asked what yardstick would be used to determine what clothes are 'decent', Ndeitunga said: "At least put on something, even if it's short it should cover the essentials. You can't walk in town while people can see your buttocks."

"I don't want to prescribe how people should wear, even if it's new fashion style, it should be within our tradition," he said.

Ndeitunga also said that public indecency includes hooligan tendencies in streets and drinking alcohol in the streets.

The Namibian is informed that there are other cases of women being threatened with arrest because of wearing miniskirts.

However there have not been any reports of men threatened with arrest for wearing sagging trousers - a manner of wearing trousers below the waist, revealing most of their underwear.

Kavango Deputy Commissioner Willie Bampton told Nampa earlier this year that the police would continue arresting those who are not properly clad, in addition to people found drinking alcohol in unlicensed public places such as shopping malls and in streets.

The decision to round up girls for wearing hot-pants brought mixed reactions, with some parents supporting the idea while some have criticised it.

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