Otjozondjupa governor James Uerikua has condemned the practice of child marriages, citing that it is one of the root causes of gender-based violence (GBV).
Speaking in Tsumkwe at the start of his regional youth engagement series on Monday, Uerikua called on parents to stop marrying off their girls early, as well as allowing them to be dependent on men. He explained that such acts deny girls opportunities to grow into productive citizens of society.
"I urge parents to empower and train the girl child to be independent, and not rely on men for survival," he urged.
At the same event, the governor condemned the barbaric acts committed against women and children in Namibia, stating that it is sad that women are no longer safe in this country.
"We cannot tolerate such action, they are evil. We stand with all the survivors of GBV and their families," he said.
Uerikua advised all the people in abusive relationships to get out before it is too late. He also urged those that know people in abusive relationships to encourage the victims to leave such relationships.
The governor has embarked on a series of youth engagement meetings in six constituencies around Otjozondjupa, which started on Monday in Tsumkwe and will continue until 26 October with a final engagement in Okahandja.
The purpose of the meetings is to give the Otjozondjupa youth a platform to raise their issues, concerns and challenges to the governor and the relevant offices, ministries and agencies.
The Tsumkwe engagement was well attended by youth from all corners of Tsumkwe constituency, youth leaders, traditional leaders, parents, and representatives from different institutions within the region.
Amongst the issues raised include a request for a sports field, request for well-equipped computer laboratories in schools, a request to prioritise Tsumkwe constituency jobs to the locals, the issue of school learners leaving school every year for harvesting the devil's claw with parents, school teachers skipping school on paydays, transport challenges for the Tsumkwe learners that live in Gam.