THE PRESIDENT, AS the appointing authority, needs to step in to protect the integrity of the Namibian Police given that inspector general Joseph Shikongo remains in office while facing charges of culpable homicide, negligent driving, and reckless driving following an incident in which three people died.
Shikongo is plainly wrong and arrogant to suggest that only “the law (should) determine” the course of his case and that he will not be judged by public opinion.
Well, the integrity and legitimacy of the entire police force is fundamentally premised on public perception.
Shikongo, the police commander, is being investigated by his own deputies with powers he has delegated to them. That underlings are investigating their boss is untenable no matter how competent and impartial they can be.
Security minister Albert Kawana and perhaps the Presidency will be shirking their responsibility by arguing that powers to investigate crime lie only with the police.
The police chief is also a political appointee. Good governance requires that actions be undertaken in the broader public’s best interest.
“Justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done,” according to a wisdom-embedded legal judgement by England’s Lord Hewart.
The position Shikongo occupies is very important in Namibia’s justice system. It is in the interest of the police and their role in national life that any investigation is seen to be independent of any active or latent influence of the police chief.
Shikongo should step aside while investigations are underway.
And the president should find a way to institute an independent probe outside the confines of the Namibian Police.
It matters that all are seen as equal before the law.