Friend arrested for murder

Protests countrywide

11 October 2020 | Crime

Protestors; “If the law enforcers won’t do anything about it, we may as well take justice into our own hands.”

Walvis Bay • [email protected]


Azaan Madisia (28) made her first appearance in the Walvis Bay magistrate’s court on charges of murder and obstructing and defeating the course of justice.

She is the number one suspect implicated in the disappearance of Shannon Wasserfall (22), who went missing on 10 April 2020 from Kuisebmond.

Human remains presumed to be that of Wasserfall were found earlier this week following a tip off and that sparked countrywide protests demanding justice for Shannon under the #JusticeForShannon campaign.

The remains were sent from Walvis Bay to Windhoek for forensic tests to determine and confirm that it is the missing Wasserfall.

Madisia appeared without legal representation before magistrate Rhivermo Williams and was denied bail due to the seriousness of the charges, and it not being in the interest of justice or the public.

According to public prosecutor Maggy Shinyagaya, there is a possibility that more suspect(s) may be arrested concerning Wasserfall’s disappearance.

The case has been postponed to 7 December 2020 for further investigations.

A crying Madisia covered her face, while waiting for the police to escort her to the holding cells in Narraville. She can formally apply for bail upon securing legal representation.

Protests

Residents turned up in numbers in Swakopmund on Friday, protesting and later storming the Swakopmund police station, demanding that justice be done for Wasserfall and countless other women and children who have suffered the same fate.

Protests took a nasty turn over the weekend when the police reserve force pelted protestors with tear gas and arrested about 25 of them, which included journalists in Windhoek.

Protestors also marched through Narraville in Walvis Bay to the Kuisebmond police station on Saturday.

They wanted to hand over a petition to the station commander but since the correct procedure was not followed (the police needs three days’ notice), the station commander did not accept the petition.

The petition stated that gender-based violence is deeply rooted in gender inequality and continues to be one of the most notable human rights violations in all sectors of society.

“The killing of women and children by men is another pandemic raging in our country. This is a present and consistent threat to women, yet our media, communities and government responses do not consistently reflect this. Gender-based violence (GBV), specifically violence against women has infiltrated all aspects of the lived experience of a woman. It is present in schools, homes, community and the public sector.”

The petition also implies that Namibia has been slow to respond and current attempts at addressing GBV have been haphazard and uncoordinated.

“Women are not safe in public places or even in their own homes. It is the belief of the Enough is Enough group that in order to address GBV and femicide, we are in desperate need of effective government services, leadership and coordination. If law enforcers won’t do anything about it, we might as well take justice into our own hands. We are tired.”

Protests also took place in Kuisebmond starting at the Independence shop – the spot where Wasserfall was last seen alive.

On Thursday evening, during a prayer session which turned into a protest, the deputy mayor of Walvis Bay, Penelope Martin-Louw, said that it has long been acknowledged that Namibia has a high rate of GBV and it is a matter of great concern.

“Both women and men experience gender-based violence but most of the victims are women and young girls. Women are certainly not less than men and their bodies need to be respected and protected.”

Martin-Louw questioned the behaviour patterns being passed on from father, brother and son towards the women in their lives.

“We must all take a moment of introspection.”

She commended those standing in solidarity to say that they no longer stand for violence or abuse against women, children or any other member of our society.

“We take a stand in declaring that every human life matters and we should begin to have an open dialogue to acquire knowledge and understanding to reduce GBV, human rights violations and other social ills such as alcohol and drug abuse.”

The deputy mayor also said that the state of a home reflects the state of a society.

“I encourage you to assume a meaningful role in shaping your communities. Behavioural change starts at individual level which leads to promoting a collective culture of a gender-sensitive society where human rights are protected and women enjoy equal opportunities without fear of discrimination or marginalisation.”

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