By Anna Shilongo
The Swapo Party Elders Council is concerned with an upswing in wife-bashing and other forms of domestic violence that result in close family members being brutally murdered and cases where mothers kill their own babies.
This worrying phenomenon also involves grandchildren killing their grandparents, parents killing their offspring, and children murdering their parents as a result of substance abuse while the motive in some of the cases is to cash in on insurance policies.
Addressing the media at a press conference in Windhoek yesterday, Swapo Party Elders Council Secretary, Kanana Hishoono, said the nation shows an increasing tendency towards these social evils.
“There are two fundamental questions that Namibians, law -abiding citizens, need to answer. What is the cause of this perilous phenomenon? And what can be done to stem the tide?” asked Hishoono.
He said there are some aspects of life in society that contribute to the various forms of domestic violence.
Hishoono said traditional customs and values are no longer respected in modern society, adding that the entire society has lost its morals, while discipline has broken down and moral decay has set in.
He believes the culture of cuca shops is destroying traditional customs and values.
“People in our country today, in both urban and rural areas, both old and young, spend their evenings at cuca shops, drinking tombo, pwaka, ndjambula and all other illicit home-brews. They no longer have time to spend the evenings to teach their children the good customs and traditional values of society,” he said.
Rather, the secretary of the Elders’ Council said, they keep on quarrelling and hurling insults at each other, fighting amongst each other, irrespective of the vast age difference in their various age categories.
“No useful things are learnt at the cuca shops, and usually. parental care and youth upbringing is generally lacking in today’s society,” he said.
Another concern raised by the Elders Council was the issue of equality and human rights resulting from freedom and independence.
Although freedom and independence have brought democracy, equality and human rights, Hishoona said sometimes individuals, including children, do forget that human rights go hand in hand with responsibility.
“Some individuals think they have more rights over others. They imagine that they have rights to do everything. They think that others have no rights, only they themselves have the rights, which they must exercise at the expense of other persons’ rights,” he said.
“Corporal punishment of children by parents has been outlawed by the Namibian Constitution. In traditional Namibian society, however, this form of punishment of children was the norm,” he added.
Thus he said some children think corporal punishment is prohibited only when the parents want to apply it to them, but the children can apply it to their parents without violating the Constitution.
“This is where the children got it all wrong. The law in Namibia does not allow anybody to beat, injure, maim or kill any other person. That is why the death penalty or capital punishment for criminals was abolished,” he said.
The influence of the media, particularly the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), was another concern on top of the elders’ list. “The mission of the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation is to inform, educate, and entertain. This is a sound mission and NBC is congratulated for that.”
He noted that the media have a profound influence on members of society in which they operate, adding that the influence of TV is particularly significant.
Though most TV programmes are full of violent scenes and younger generations are deeply in love and are obsessive with these programmes, older people do not admire them.
He said young people are all “educated and entertained” by these programmes on how to shoot at each other and even how to kill their own relatives.
He therefore appealed to the NBC to screen programmes that are educational.
Hishoono also appealed to the public to do away with violence.
“Many people when they commit violence they claim to have suffered from mental health problems, which is not always the case. It is just an excuse,” said Hishoono.
Thus Swapo Party Elders Council demands a system of ethics and values, to be devised, in order to transmit these desired values to the younger generations who will give the country a unique identity amongst the nations in the world.
“The system should draw on the past, those positive aspects of culture and combine them with ethical values and be drawn from the aspirations for the better and safe future of Namibia.”
As a result, he said, the Elders Council is currently busy doing research for the establishment of a new system, and the research findings will be addressed to the appropriate authorities for attention and consideration.