WINDHOEK – Namibian national security apparatuses yesterday moved to assure the public that the country’s national security remains secured from unwarranted espionage activities of any kind, following this week’s leaks of intelligence documents on South African security agencies and other African states’ security institutions.
Some heads of Namibian security institutions, however, expressed concern on the weakness of African states’ security apparatuses and intelligence institutions, saying it highlights the need for tighter security.
Intelligence documents, some over which New Era took a gander, highlight how lax national security controls in key SADC countries can be penetrated by wanted fugitives and terrorists, and how such careless control measures were exploited by members of the criminal and terrorism intelligence networks playing cat-and-mouse with foreign state security operatives.
They also exposed African countries’ major weaknesses to infiltration by criminal and terrorism networks.
African states’ approach to national security is so cavalier that foreign states’ officially recognised security agencies are able to play hide-and-seek from one another throughout African and Southern African countries such as the DRC, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Mozambique, South Africa using those countries’ local institutions and officials.
However, the chairperson of the Namibian Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security, Paulus Kapia and the Inspector General of the Namibian Police, Lieutenant-General Sebastian Ndeitunga, told New Era that the country maintains the necessary precautionary security arrangement to deter any sort of infiltration.
“We are not saying we are 100 percent [secure], but we are satisfied with the security measures,” Kapia and Ndeitunga each said yesterday.
This week the Arabian television network, Al Jazeera, which obtained the documents and shared them with the UK’s Guardian newspaper, published detailed stories, saying the African continent has become the focus of international spying, with South Africa becoming a regional powerhouse and communications hub.
“Africa is the new El Dorado of espionage,” the Guardian newspaper reported this week.
Ndeitunga says while “security will never be absolute, we have secured our security institutions with necessary resources and we would continue to improve on them”.
Kapia said the parliamentary committee has “worked hard to ensure that our security establishments are well resourced to prevent any security threats”, even though the public continues to question the spending allocations to institutions such as the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Home Affairs and Immigration, Safety and Security and the Namibian Defence Force.
“There are those who keep saying we must not spend a lot of money on security apparatus,” said Kapia, adding that the leaked documents clearly show that it pays to spend such money on security apparatus.
“People take for granted ministries such as Home Affairs [and Immigration], which is central to border control and immigration. Foreign Affairs is overlooked, while it is the eyes of the Namibian government,” said Kapia.
He said the parliamentary committee conducts regular reviews and visits to the sites and training facilities for the Namibia Central Intelligence Service, police, and Defence Force and is satisfied with what people, entrusted to run those institutions are doing.
However, Ndeitunga and Kapia were at pains to explain that the public needs to understand the importance of security, if the State’s security apparatuses are to keep criminal and terrorism intelligence network out of the country.
“Security threats are many and they can be confronted, before anything happen, only when we are prepared,” said Kapia.
Ndeitunga said security could only be confronted when the public is willing to share with police and other security institutions, because criminal and terrorist network operates with public assistance. “This involve sensitising the public,” he said.