Legal Assistance Centre demands apology from General Shalli
The Legal Assistance Centre have stated their concern about an incident of hate speech, by General Martin Shalli (RTD), who threatened to execute members of the opposition parties. On 7 November, Shalli said ‘should not be shot, but slaughtered’, and it seems that members of the ruling party still deem it appropriate to use threats of violence against those who oppose them.
Toni Hancox, Director of the Centre reminded the General that Article 12 of the Namibian Constitution provides for the fundamental rights of all Namibians, and states that (1), all persons shall have the right to ‘(e) freedom of association, which shall include freedom to form and join… political parties’.
“If General Shalli wants to criticise those who hold a particular point of view, he is welcome to do so, but he is not free to threaten them with murder, and regardless of what was in his mind when he spoke, the words are reckless and extremely dangerous,” she added
General Shalli has indicated in a press release that the words were figurative, and he indicated that it was in fact members of the opposition parties who should be ashamed for thinking that it was meant in any way.
Further more Hancox said this appalling statement was once again made in the context of the elections and it is once again necessary to remind government that every Namibian citizen has the Constitutional right, ‘to participate in peaceful political activity intended to influence the composition and policies of the government’, ‘to form and join political parties’ and ‘to participate in the conduct of public affairs, whether directly or through freely chosen representative’, (Article 17).
“This right does not extend only to those persons who support the ruling party, and voting for the political party of your choice is not war against any other party, it is the democratic right of citizens of all races and all political convictions,” she added.
Hancox reminded the General that he has previously taken an oath to uphold, protect and defend the Namibian Constitution and to ensure justice for all the inhabitants of the country, therefore these responsibilities must supersede any political party loyalties. “Thirty years after independence, in a nation which has managed to hold a series of peaceful elections from independence up to now, it is profoundly disturbing to hear such appalling and dangerous threats in the context of elections or indeed in any context,” she emphasised.
General Shalli is called upon to retract his statements and to apologise to the members of the opposition parties as well as to their supporters.