MARIENTAL – Mariental Urban constituency councillor Barakias Namwandi has praised government for building new police barracks countrywide saying this addresses more than just one social problem.
Speaking to New Era in a recent interview Namwandi, also weighed in on the public debate about government houses that are said to have become an eyesore and extremely unhygienic and even unfit for human habitation. According to Namwandi, the low morale of uniformed staff is a direct result of the living conditions these officers must endure, conditions in which many are forced to raise their children despite the obvious health risks. According to Namwandi this is also affecting the recruitment of dedicated and committed staff for the police and defence forces. “Children come to stay here with their parents and tomorrow if you want to motivate them to join the force or the army they just laugh at you, because they see under what conditions their parents must live. And it is to these conditions that officers must bring their wives and children,” he said. Namwandi said the accommodation problem faced by uniformed staff is partly responsible for the high HIV/Aids prevalence rate in the police and defence forces that has been crippling the security forces for years.
“You see when they cannot bring their wives, because of the accommodation issue then they go around sleeping with local women, but with the new barracks now being built I am sure they can bring their families and would no longer be sleeping around,” he said. Earlier this year Chief Inspector Tobias Gerber, who is based in the Erongo Region urged members of the police force to re-assess their lifestyles. “Take into account the risks of HIV infection and do not expose yourself. It is best to take action, follow treatment to enhance and prolong your lifespan by living positively,” he advised. According to a recent media report the DTA’s Philemon Moongo said that soldiers are always neglected and that the welfare of lowly ranked army personnel needs to be improved. In the same report Moongo also claimed that the salaries of soldiers are very poor. “Salaries are very bad.” The Ministry of Safety and Security has embarked on a N$130 million police infrastructure development project in which it hopes to build and renovate existing police stations and living quarters of uniformed staff across Namibia. The Inspector General of the Namibian Police Force (Nampol) Lieutenant-General Sebastian Ndeitunga recently said that the members of Nampol cannot afford to pay for decent accommodation considering the high rental fees.
By Jemima Beukes