New Era (Windhoek)

22 February 2013

Namibia: Kavango Cops Adamant, Will Act On Public Indecency

Rundu — Following the detention of 40 girls in December in Rundu, Kavango Police Regional Commander, Olavi Auanga, says police will continue to round up females who dress inappropriately in public, as required by the constitution.

An alleged statement by NamPol's Inspector General Sebastian Ndeitunga to arrest and detain females wearing "short and revealing" mini-skirts has sparked a groundswell of public outrage. Ndeitunga has however denied the statement attributed to him this week.

Yesterday, Auanga stuck to his guns on the resolve of police officers in the Kavango Region to arrest anyone breaking the dress code. "Those who are opposing this, should remember that the police are not infringing on any laws in our constitution, we are simply implementing the law as we were mandated to do," explained Auanga.

Speaking to New Era yesterday morning, Auanga said the police are not against people wearing mini-skirts, adding that all members of the public should stop dressing indecently and wear what he described as "the right attire, to the right place".

The public outcry and the raging debate on appropriate dress started when police in Rundu rounded up girls for being dressed inappropriately in public. The girls are believed to have worn fashionable and popular garments called hot-pants, which are really very short shorts.

The Combating of Immoral Practices Act 21 of 1980 as amended in Act 21 of 2000 clearly states that, "Any person who willfully or openly exhibits in an indecent dress or manner at any door or window within the view of any public street or place or in any place to which the public have access shall be guilty of an offence and conviction to a fine not exceeding N$2 000 or imprisonment not exceeding two years or both."

"Obviously the police will not stop you from wearing your mini-skirt or swimming attire at the beach, but is it really ethical to wear the same attire to a shopping mall or even to church," he said. The police regional commander vowed to continue rounding up those people who dress indecently in public.

"If you look at a school like St Boniface where girls wear their dresses below their knees, this is a contributing factor to the exceptional academic performance of that school, compared to some of our government schools where learners are allowed to wear mini-dresses. The results speak for themselves," he observed.

According to Auanga mini-skirts do not contribute wholly to rape in the country, but he said he considers that kind of attire as a contributing factor. "People are saying that the police must focus on arresting Shaduka, well let me tell you, just like the constitution mandates us to pursue other cases such as theft and murder, we also have the responsibility to make sure that people dress accordingly in public," he said.

He urged parents to join forces with the police by disciplining their children. "We have to respect ourselves and other citizens, because later on people will be walking around naked and still claim that it is their democratic right like they are doing now. People should know that when they exercise their democratic rights, it should be within the confines of the constitution," he said.

"Anyone who obstructs the police from executing their duties will be arrested," the regional commander reiterated as if to underline his resolve.

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