ONGWEDIVA, NAMIBIA, Feb 25– Namibian– President Hifikepunye Pohamba, voicing concern over the recent spate of violence seen in the country, especially violence against women and children, has called on the Church to use its special position to teach the value of self-respect and respect for others.

Speaking at the consecration of Reverend Dr Veikko Munyika as the third Bishop of the Western Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia, conducted at Ongwediva in Oshana Region (Province) on Sunday, the president described the violence against women and children as a source of great concern for the whole Namibian nation.

““It is vital that we join hands to address this challenge as a matter of urgency,”” Pohamba stated, adding that those who committed heinous crimes such as murder and rape did not deserve mercy and should face the full force of the law.

According to him, about 12 women had been brutally killed so far this year by men who claimed to be their lovers, while a total of 25 women were also killed by their so-called lovers last year.

Pohamba pointed out that there was a need for proper upbringing of young people so that they could grow up to become responsible and law-abiding adults. ““I urge the Church to continue providing our people with a moral compass so that they can focus their energies on constructive activities,”” said the Head of State.

He added that Namibia needed law-abiding citizens whose focus is on the well-being of their families and the development of the communities and the country at large.

Pohamba also called upon the Church to actively participate in the fight against diseases such as HIV/AIDS by assisting in equipping the young people with the moral values to abstain from sexual activities and for partners to be faithful in order to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS.

He thanked the Church for working together with Government in order to ensure effective distribution of drought relief to affected households and communities across the country. He also encouraged church leaders such as pastors, deacons and elders of congregations to continue to assist with the identification of vulnerable households so that they can be prioritized in the distribution of drought-relief supplies.