The President reminded the youth leaders that it was essential for them to express themselves in a democracy. It is a manifestation of hope that things will change and that there was light at the end of the tunnel. Moreover, the Head of State also said that it was an illustration of the trust they had in their elected Government.
President Geingob further underlined the importance of buttressing the rule of law, including processes, systems and institutions in the Namibian Governance Architecture. The petition was addressed to the Speaker of the National Assembly, which as the Legislature is a separate arm from the Executive. In light of the principle of separation of powers in the Namibian Government, the Prime Minister as Leader of Government Business in Parliament was mandated to deal with the petition through that platform.
It was therefore opportune for the President as Head of State and the Executive to meet with the petitioners following the processes they had followed with the Prime Minister, including the statement by the Prime Minister in the National Assembly on 13 October 2020 dealing with the concerns of the youth leaders.
The President expressed satisfaction with the fact that the Prime Minister dealt with the issues in the petition. President Geingob further emphasized that alcohol abuse could not be used as an excuse anymore and the nation needed to look at rebuilding the family unit that has been broken.
President Geingob stressed that as Head of State he had zero-tolerance for SGBV, and never misses a platform to talk about gender-based violence, including during the State of the Nation Address. The elevation of the Gender affairs to the Presidency is in itself ample demonstration of the commitment the President places on Gender equality, including the plight of women and children.
"It would be wrong to assume that we are at war against each other, we have to address this issue together. Gender-based violence is something we have to address together as a nation", the President said.
Stressing the need for solidarity in fighting the shared challenge of gender-based violence and urgency in building safer communities, President Geingob informed that misunderstandings could occur when people don't talk to each other. Countries go to war when diplomacy fails and when you don't communicate, the President cautioned. Dialogue and unity is key, the President said.
Highlighting the importance of "disagreeing without being disagreeable" and finding one another through dialogue, President Geingob assured the youth leaders that communication in Government will be strengthened to share actions and policies in place to strengthen the fight against gender-based violence.
However, the President agreed with the youth leaders against gender- based violence that there was a need to do be creative and to do more to protect vulnerable sectors such as women and children.
In addition to continuous engagement during the implementation of the response measures in the petition by youth leaders, the meeting agreed to the establishment of a technical committee comprised of youth leaders against Sexual and Gender-based Violence (SGBV) and other stakeholders, including Government.
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To conclude, President Geingob assured the youth leaders against sexual and gender based violence that a policy of zero tolerance would be pursued and as part of the ethos of Transparency and Accountability that he champions in governance, the doors of the Presidency would always be open for dialogue and for finding common solutions to problems facing Namibians.