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Judicial CP - June 1999
The Namibian, Windhoek, 9 June 1999
MPs ponder 'extreme measures' for rapistsBy Tangeni Amupadhi
Windhoek - Members of Parliament yesterday suggested various punishments - ranging from public flogging to the abortion of baby boys - as alternatives to those outlined in the Combating of Rape Bill.
The extreme proposals were put to Minister of Justice, Ngarikutuke Tjiriange, who last week tabled the new anti-rape law in the National Assembly. Suggesting her own 'final solution', Swapo backbencher Doreen Sioka warned that if men did not stop abusing and raping women, "women have got the right to abort a boy".
Sioka's statement drew mixed reactions from fellow National Assembly members with some women MPs mumbling apparent approval while some men shouted the idea down. Sioka also made the parliamentarians laugh when she declared: "To those who are saying women do rape. That's a joke, because a man needs to be electrified for the business."
She called for tougher punishments including forced HIV-AIDS test for rapists and exposing culprits to the public. Democratic Coalition of Namibia (DCN) MP Andrew Matjila also suggested crude punishments - saying corporal punishment should be used and that rapists should be castrated by a medical practitioner.
"A person who rapes a woman must go through terrible pain after the pleasure of raping, if there is any pleasure at all in the deed."
Hartmut Ruppel interrupted saying that the DCN MP "sounds like a voice from the Old Testament" to which Matjila replied the world is what it is today because of the Old Testament. "Ja, that is why we have all the laws," agreed Ruppel, who interrupted Matjila several times.
At one stage Matjila mentioned that rape was un-African and Ruppel added it was also un-European. Matjila lost his cool after another Ruppel interjection, calling the Swapo MP a "Kwere-Kwere" which is a derogatory Tswana word referring to an outsider.
Matjila appealed to the Justice Ministry to train prosecutors in traditional courts in order to help reduce a back-log of rape cases. "Rape is definitely un-African," he said.
"They (rapists) can never tell a woman in her face that they love her, not even if the woman in question happens to be a lady of the night who would like every man to sample her wares."
He said tougher sentences would help to prevent vigilante actions against suspects.
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