VIP Police Barracks in Bad Condition

POOR living conditions of those responsible for protecting President Hifikepunye Pohamba and other political office-bearers have emerged as a sour point for many in the VIP protection unit.

The revelations come just after President Pohamba lashed out on the Namibia Development Corporation (NDC) board chairperson John Nekwaya for workers’ poor living conditions earlier this year, meanwhile it has surfaced that his own bodyguards are living in similar conditions.

Pohamba was on a tour to the Naute Dam Irrigation Project near Keetmanshoop in March when he ordered Nekwaya to immediately leave his entourage over workers’ poor living conditions.

At the time, the President described the workers’ living state as “unacceptable, unhygienic and inhuman.”

While Pohamba was frying Nekwaya, the Namibian police workforce attached to the VIP protection directorate have also expressed concern over their own living conditions.

The officers are accommodated at the police barracks in Khomasdal, Windhoek.

They too have described their accommodation as “unacceptable and not conducive”, where two people are forced to share one bedroom. They also said they live like school children in a hostel.

One officer said as adults, they do not live a normal life because even those who are married cannot receive visits from their spouses.

While several officers have complained about the issue, others have noted that they do not mind the setting since it is optional to stay at the barracks. They added that they have a choice to go and rent if they so wished. On a visit to the barracks, The Namibian discovered that two officers share a room, which considering the available space, is actually meant for one person. Most of the rooms have two beds, two fridges and a kitchen area, which does not leave much space for free movement.

Some of the officers use the rooms as kitchens because the available communal kitchens do no have cooking facilities, while some laundry rooms have also been neglected.

Ananias Muzile, head of the VIP protection unit, said his office has not received any complaints about the bad living conditions yet.

Muzile also said it was unusual that the President was aware of the complaints and not his office, adding that there was a structure in place to address all their needs.

“I expect the complaint to come from them straight. We have structures to address our employees’ concerns,” he said.

Muzile added that their complaints will be addressed, depending on available funds. “Aise them to come to my office. We are here for them and they should go through the available channels.” Police inspector general, Sebastian Ndeitunga, said he was aware of the filthy conditions at the barracks, but blames the police officers occupying the buildings.

Ndeitunga also said he sent a team to inspect the barracks because officers are “not taking care of the facilities” and that he will evict those who are guilty.

Ministry of Safety and Security permanent secretary, Ndeutala Angolo-Amutenya, said the ministry is aware of police officers’ accommodation situation and that it is one of their main priorities.

She also said the police accommodation problem is not only occurring in Windhoek but in the entire country.

Source : The Namibian