Namibians Protest Against Arms Ship

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By Anna Shilongo

WINDHOEK

Hundreds of placard-waving Namibians yesterday took to the streets chanting slogans against the Chinese and Angolan governments as well as President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe.

“Down, down, down China and Mugabe, Lord of war, death on delivery. We want peace not weapons, ” the protesters demonstrating under the ambit of the Legal Assistant Centre (LAC) chanted. They called on other African countries not to allow the Chinese ship to dock and to offload its contents in their countries.

“We demand that you return your ship to your country. Africa does not need guns, we want democracy,” said the protestors.

“Fuel and go back home, Mugabe your people want peace not war. Why don’t you give a chance to (Morgan) Tsvangirai to prove himself?” the protesters chanted.

Other protestors are calling on Mugabe to step down, adding that he should not fear to do so, as there is life after retirement.

Others, possibly not knowing the ship was already on its way to China, said it should go back. They said they want the Chinese government to send food instead of bullets.

“SADC is a gun-free zone, China get out of Zimbabwe. The only box China should send to Zimbabwe should be ballot boxes and more democracy no guns please,” said Dorkas Philemon from the National Society for Human Rights (NSHR).

Also speaking at the demonstration, Lutheran Bishop Zephania Kameeta said Africa does not need any war.

“We had enough wars, bloodshed and yet China wants to contribute to the war,” stressed Kameeta.

He said, at this moment, Africa needs China to contribute to the peace and economy of the continent not war.

“This transaction of the ship of shame should not have been made at all, in the first place, it came at a wrong time and we, as Africans, are going to stand together to prevent such evil deeds from entering our harbours,” said the Lutheran Bishop.

“We need tools for democracy in Africa not war,” he said, adding that they will condemn any shipment of weapons to Zimbabwe or any African country.
Kameeta noted that the shipment of weapons to Zimbabwe is destroying the good relationship China had with African countries.

“We decided to take a common stand against Robert Mugabe’s actions, and this message should go around it should not end here. The world should take note that people from Africa can stand together as one,” said Norman Tjombe the LAC Director.

After the demonstration, all placards were sent to the office of the Chinese Ambassador to Namibia. They were, however, received by a driver although the demonstrators wanted the ambassador to receive the placards.

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