Namibia: GBV - Swanu Leader Clarifies His Position

28 October 2020

Almost two weeks after his controversial remarks in parliament about women being too dependent on men, Swanu parliamentarian Tangeni Iijambo yesterday claimed his statements were taken out of context.

"When I rose in support of honourable Winnie Moongo's motion, my remarks were taken out of context and I was lambasted without reasonable cause," Iijambo said in a statement. He explained 'dependency syndrome' as an attitude and belief that an individual or group cannot solve its own problems without outside help.

"It is a weakness that is made worse by charity. It is a condition suffered by individuals, regardless of gender, race or any other category of identification and even extends to nations," he clarified. He said the Swanu party as socialists, view this repugnant phenomenon in ideological terms, as an outcome of the contradictions inherent in the capitalist system.

"Sexual and gender-based violence is symptomatic of the class struggle," he said.

Iijambo said the evidence of widespread and varied abuse in Namibia is incontrovertible and extends to abuse among LGBTI intimate partners, abuse in the law enforcement and armed forces, abuse of children, the elderly, sick and mentally ill in schools.

"Let us face it, we are a violent nation. We in Swanu argue that sexual, domestic and gender-based violence can only be fully understood in the context of a much wider abuse, which is deeply rooted in the structures of capitalism," said the parliamentarian.

He said capitalism is a system in which commodity production and wealth creation is a process that dominates human beings.

"It is not a system under our democratic control and subordinated to our needs. This is the social context in which the existence and prevalence of sexual violence has to be understood," he said. In this context, he said all hierarchies of authority and status are sites of abuse, which create a reactionary and rightwing environment of deprivation, marginalisation and violence. Today, he said the gender pay gap shows no signs of narrowing, while many women perform the most menial jobs, such as domestic work, part-time jobs, including prostitution.

In fact, he added industries in which women are dominant such as the retail sector tend to be lower paid compared to those where men are clustered. "The inevitable result has been the redistribution of wealth from the working class to the capitalist class over the past three decades, compounding the racial oppression and exploitation of Namibians during colonialism," he said. - ktjitemisa@nepc.com.na

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