Namibia
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Anger over top cop’s reshuffle from national role

Several junior officers within the Namibian Police have expressed unhappiness over the reshuffling of commissioner Wilhelm Steenkamp from being the head of the Special Field Force to being the new Khomas region commander.

Steenkamp’s previous role allowed him to run field operations right across the country, and his restriction to the Khomas region has been interpreted as a technical demotion.

The commissioner declined to comment on the matter when contacted yesterday.

The new arrangement has, however, been confirmed by national police spokesperson deputy commissioner Kauna Shikwambi, without providing further details.

She said the police would issue a statement on the matter today.

“That statement is due to be released, because there is a rotation. I think the statement should be out tomorrow,” Shikwambi said yesterday.

‘DEVASTATED’

Several junior police officers who are close to the matter, and who spoke on condition of anonymity, yesterday said they were devastated by the news, because Steenkamp is a hard worker.

“He has been hard at work putting systems in place and lifting morale in the ranks. He has been building people in his position as head of field operations.

“How could they do that to him? So, it is true what Shikwambi said, and we understand the commissioner was informed a few days ago,” an officer said.

Steenkamp rose to the helm of the Special Field Force after he served as the head of operations within the same division.

Another officer said the shift should be understood to be a horizontal transfer, which occurs within the police.

“But the question remains why this has been allowed to happen. So, what has effectively happened is that he has taken Mutota’s position, and Indongo, who has only been here for nine months, will be the head of field operations.

“But Steenkamp was transferred here to the Khomas region, and he was really a peacemaker, especially where he has been engaged with protests and he managed to get the confidence and support of protestors in Windhoek.

“He has always been disciplined and hard-working. I doubt if he is happy about it, but he cannot refuse the transfer because he is a disciplined police officer,” another officer said.