The Disarm Domestic Violence campaign is raising awareness at high levels in Namibia. During a Parliamentary debate on the Draft Defence Policy on 11 February 2010, Deputy Prime Minister Dr Libertina Amathila said that the issuing of firearm licences should be stricter, because of reports of women being shot by their boyfriends or husbands.

Namibia: Firearm Licences Too Easy - Amathila
Namibian (Windhoek)
15 February 2010
By Brigitte Weidlich

The issuing of firearm licences should be stricter, as there have been several reports of women being shot by their boyfriends or husbands, Deputy Prime Minister Dr Libertina Amathila said in Parliament on Thursday.

Speaking on the debate on the draft defence policy tabled by Defence Minister Charles Namoloh, Amathila said: "Weapons [licences] are issued easily to the public, are people able to handle guns? Women are shot by their boyfriends and husbands."

Safety and Security Minister Nickey Iyambo then told the House that stricter measures for issuing firearm licences would be introduced in due course.

"We tried in 2009 to temporarily ban [the issuing] of arms licences but were advised by legal experts that this would be difficult. This has to do with gunsmiths and retail shops [for guns] that exist in the country and they would have probably sued us," he said.

"Our Ministry will however introduce stricter measures because presently if one applies for a licence for a firearm, only a few questions need to be answered and after just two months one obtains the licence."

Amathila praised the Safety and Security Minister for the move. "These days even farmers get shot with their own firearms on farms. Some people might argue that stricter measures with regard to firearms might interfere with human rights but saving lives is important."

In his motivational speech on the draft defence policy, Minister Namoloh said once it was accepted, the policy would become law.

"This will guide the conduct and development of the Defence Ministry and the Namibia Defence Force (NDF). The policy will provide for the command and control of the NDF, recognise the political control over the NDF and set the military ethics and traditions."

According to the draft document, the guiding principles of the NDF and its navy and air force are to serve the government of the day and the Namibian population, be accountable to the "political mechanisms of control and to be militarily capable to fulfil its primary tasks which are to defend the territorial integrity of Namibia".

The debate will continue on Wednesday with Presidential Affairs Minister Albert Kawana as the first contributor.