Students that were subjected to beatings by the police yesterday during a peaceful Namibia National Students Union (NANSO)-led demonstration against non-payment of tuition/non-tuition fees have shouldered all the blame on higher education minister Itah Kandjii-Murangi.
The student leadership said at a press conference hosted yesterday that a dozen of them were subjected to brutal beatings and chased through supermarkets all the way until Windhoek West and China Town.
They said some of them were hospitalised and treated of injuries while a couple others are yet to be accounted for after they disappeared and fears are that they have been held in police custody.
“We blame the minister. She refused to listen to us and said she was too busy and would meet with us when time was necessary. We believe she instigated the police to beat students. Some students were kneeling down but the police kept on beating them,” said NANSO vice president Bernard Kavau who was at the led of the protest.
The University of Namibia’s Students Representative Council president Tuhafeni Kalola said the students had done nothing illegal to warrant the brutal assault: “We have engaged the police over students’ safety over and over and the minister should be held accountable.
NANSO president, Esther Simon condemned the attack and said that they were considering taking the legal route to hold the police and the minister accountable.
“We can no longer continue being undermined, being silenced when they are not in favour of things affecting us as students then we are told to keep quiet. Time has arrived where we need to stand up and speak against these actions. We can no longer accept this type of behaviour,” she said.
Another student leader, Julia Johannes said they needed counseling to heal from the shock they went though: “An officer pointed a gun at me saying he will kill me. It’s not easy to get it out of my mind,” he said.
NANSO chairperson Simon Amunime said the attack was uncalled for and unprecedented.
The students also said when they confronted Kandjii-Murangi she told them off saying, “Tell your parents to just pay, it’s just N$10 000!”
She could not be available for a comment when called by this publication.
Meanwhile, the students were demanding for an assurance of 100% funding towards tuition fees, 80% towards boarding students, abolishment of pre-determined rates for all private institutions, N$21 600 for non-boarding students, abolishment of Namic as a milking cow of student funding and that first year students should not sign any disadvantaging contracts.