Windhoek — Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila says the degeneration of moral values in society and the neglecting of cultures and traditions have weakened the family system, which is the basic unit of a society.
The Prime Minister was speaking during the Omagongo Cultural Festival gala dinner that was held last Saturday night in Windhoek.
The Omagongo Cultural Festival, which celebrates culture and unifies people from all tribes, will be held on May 26 at the Uukwaluudhi Royal homestead in the Omusati Region.
The festival is an annual event celebrated on a rotational basis within the eight northern traditional authorities, namely Uukwaluudhi, Ondonga, Ongandjera, Ombalantu, Uukwambi, Uukolonkadhi, Ombandja and Oukwanyama.
This year will be the second time the Uukwaluudhi Traditional Authority hosts the festival, which was inaugurated in 2001.
Tatekulu Taapopi said eminent guests are expected to grace the Omagongo Cultural Festival 2018 that is earmarked to celebrate the Omagongo as a natural endowment of northern Namibia.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila lamented the weakening of family systems saying: "This has led to an increase in crime, especially violent crime mostly against women and children, teenage pregnancy, baby dumping, sexually transmitted diseases and school dropouts." The Prime Minister said most of the crimes are perpetrated under the influence of alcohol and drugs with young men being the main perpetrators and victims of those crimes. "This results in many of them ending up in prison and thus makes them absent fathers," she said, adding that in the fathers' absence the children grow up without male models in their lives leaving them vulnerable to turn to crime, thus perpetuating further the vicious cycle of poverty.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said the use of intoxicating substances posed a great risk to the youth and society in general, and dealing with it should receive priority attention of both the government and communities, especially traditional authorities.
She said nowadays alcohol is no longer consumed for enjoyment and socialisation, as was the case in the past. It is now used to escape from the worries of life or due to addiction. Children are also not protected from alcohol but are instead made to sell and buy alcohol.
Excessive use of alcohol, apart from promoting crime, also causes diseases, distracts communities from productive economic activities resulting in poverty and the break up of families, she said.
"I, therefore, call upon our traditional leaders to assist the government in ensuring that we deal with this issue by promoting cultural norms and traditions," she said.