By Emma Kakololo
Namibia has the highest physical assault rate compared to other African countries – about 27 percent of its populace has been subjected to such crimes.
The figure might look small, but is far beyond the middle distribution of all 18 African Afrobarometer countries with Nigeria second highest at 19 percent, followed by South Africa with 16 percent.
Mali has the lowest rate of only three percent, followed by Madagascar with five percent, according to research that was commissioned by the University of Cape Town in December last year.
The Afrobarometer was conducted on Senegal, Malawi, Mali, Cape Verde, Madagascar, Benin, Mozambique, Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda, Botswana, Lesotho, Zambia, Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Namibia.
The research results also demonstrate that although the levels of reported experience with crime and concerns over safety were indeed quite high in Namibia, they were by no means exceptional compared to other African countries.
Compared to other Africans, about 32 percent of Namibians fear crime in their own homes, while 49 percent South Africans feared the same thing, with Zambia and Kenyans the highest at 59 percent each.
In addition, Namibians’ evaluation of the police turned far more negative than those of other Africans when asked about their personal experiences.
Just 38 percent said it was easy for them to obtain help from the police, in South Africa only 40 percent, while Nigeria and Benin were below 20 percent. Almost two-third Basothos found it easy to get help from their police.
Namibian Police Deputy Commissioner Gerson Naweseb earlier reported that not only have crimes of violence increased in the country, but also the degree in which such crimes were committed had increased.
“Nowadays women are not only murdered, but their bodies are dismembered or a six-year-old child is raped by her father,” he said.
Tangible effects of physical assault are far-reaching and devastating.
The overt economic and medical difficulties that victims endure often come with less visible, albeit, equally significant, psychological and emotional complications.
In response to the public outcry on the increasing rate of crime in the country, the Government will hold the first annual national conference on Crime Prevention and Safety at the end of this month.
The three-day event starts on September 24, with the aim to outline the way forward in crime prevention.