3 Arrested for Violence

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By Kuvee Kangueehi

Windhoek

Three people suspected to be Swapo Party members were arrested on Friday afternoon after they allegedly stoned Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) members who were organising a meeting at Okuryangava in Windhoek.

The three males aged 21, 23 and 31 are being held at the Wanaheda Police Station and are expected to appear at the Katutura Magistrate’s Court this morning.

According to the Namibian Police, the three are being charged with malicious damage to property and assault with the intention to cause grievous bodily harm.

Although the police were reluctant to divulge details, it is believed that the people stoned RDP members who were announcing a meeting, which took place on Saturday.

Four RDP supporters were injured and taken to hospital but all were discharged after receiving treatment. An RDP member sustained a broken arm while three others suffered bruises.

The windscreen of a car belonging to an RDP member was hit with a stone and damaged.

Tensions have been mounting since last week Thursday when some Swapo Party members aired concern over the RDP meeting being held at the same venue in Okuryangava where members of the two parties almost clashed previously.

The police averted further clashes by requesting the RDP to move its meeting to a soccer field on the outskirts of Windhoek.

It is suspected that more people were arrested on Saturday afternoon for throwing stones at RDP supporters but the Namibian Police could not confirm this.

When the meeting finally got underway, RDP interim secretary for the Khomas Region, Jeremia Nambinga, said the Swapo Party as a party and government has lost direction, vision, purpose and was side-tracked from original goals and objectives.

Nambinga, who addressed a few hundred people mainly outside Okuryangava, claimed that the Swapo Party has become autocratic to an extent that as members of the central committee, they were not allowed to express themselves freely unless the contribution was in the interest of the chairperson.

“Swapo today has become a privately owned political party, used as a vehicle for self-enrichment and the likes.”

The former deputy minister alleged that the party has become a non-caring party for the poor, the disadvantaged and completely irrelevant to the masses of the people.

He further spoke about the poor state of the health and education sectors and lack of proper housing for the poor.

After the meeting, a convoy of more than 15 cars under police protection left the venue, which was on the outskirts and drove through the streets of Katutura.

Swapo Party members dressed in party colours surrounded the venue where the meeting was initially scheduled to take place, when New Era arrived. The venue is a taxi rank.

Members of the Special Task Force, armed with guns, tear gas and tear gas masks were sitting in their cars surrounded by Swapo Party members who allegedly were planning to hold their own meeting at the same venue.

Although the situation appeared tense, there was little commotion. As the evening set in, the people who were mostly residents of the area moved back into their houses. The police left after the situation had defused.

The Governor of the Khomas Region, Sophia Shaningwa, who went to the two venues, said she only went there to observe and did not witness the clashes between the RDP and Swapo Party supporters.

She noted that according to her observation, she could clearly see that the residents of Okuryangava were clearly disturbed and there was a commotion in the area.

“Something must have gone wrong and maybe there were intruders because the people were standing outside their houses instead of being inside.”

The governor refused to say more on the clashes and said she needed to acquaint herself with the facts before making public statements.

She added that she would call a meeting soon with the residents of Okuranyagava to listen to their grievances.

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