The importance of Operation Hornkranz

11 January 2019
Author   Eliakim N Silvanus
Last year in December, President Hage Geingob mandated the implementation of an aggressive police/army anti-crime operation titled “Operation Hornkranz” which reportedly is set to run throughout 2019.
Geingob said this operation is part of a necessary fight against the rise in criminal activities happening across the country.  I view this operation as a necessary programme that can reduce the control criminals have over communities in Namibia.
This programme includes different operators from diverse security sectors such as the Namibian police, the army and the men and women’s network that target crime hotspots in our towns. 
These protectors are now on visible, regular patrols,  protecting citizens going about their business, watching homes and cars in neighbourhoods and being a ‘presence’ in areas where the criminals used to sell drugs openly and prey on the people with impunity.
I believe that the introduction of “Operation Hornkranz” protects citizens from criminal activities. I believe that it will provide more safety for people and make us feel that finally, government sees what we have been suffering for so long.  People who do not feel that their government can protect them, lose faith in that government.
No one can ignore the fact that women are being violated or abused in streets, homes are being burgled, people are being robbed, beaten, terrorized and the atmosphere on the street (particularly in the night) is a powder keg of insecurity. 
We have all read reports about children being kidnapped, brutally tortured and even killed, something must be done!  People must feel safe in their homes and communities.  So far, the criminals, largely unchecked by the struggling police and investigators, are having their own way and controlling people’s lives.
Operation Hornkranz is not an ideal programme, (having the military active in the community is a dangerous threat to civil liberties), but what else can we do to fight back against these fearless criminals?
Government is making a statement that they run Namibia, not the criminals.  Those in charge are finally establishing themselves as the visible, tangible protector of the people.  At last!
I have seen that the majority of those violating and abusing people have no idea of the terrible side of their criminal activities. They are just selfishly chasing money as if that is all that matters in life. 
They do not see that they are destroying our culture and demoralizing their fellow human beings. Maybe aggressive crime fighting can force them to reconsider their choice to be a criminal.
In addition to the violence against the people, drug sales can also be curtailed by the operation and the public consumption of alcohol (to excess) can also be addressed by these patrols.
Kids who admire the swaggering, well-dressed criminals could begin to see these same ‘heroes’ as cowards who quickly run for cover or are laid low by Operation Hornkrantz patrols and a united community that challenges blatant law-breakers.
The government needed to do something differently to address the high levels of criminality.  Those complaining about technicalities and legalities around Operation Hornkrantz likely are not those who live in the areas most affected by unchecked crime! 
As Namibians, we should show support for this operation.  I understand that this programme will be costly because all those workers that will be in street patrols will need supplies, food and drink while on duty and equipment that they need for the operation. 
Even though the operation seems to be costly, it has been initiated for the safety of citizens whose cries for help against criminals have largely been ignored.  It is an important investment of government funds.
I would like to ask business people in the society together with the members of public, to join hands and donate the little they have to keep “Operation Hornkranz” ongoing. 
The community living in crime hotspots must also join in.  People need to lay charges and testify in court, report crimes, use their phones to record evidence (where it is safe to do so), and lend assistance to crime victims.
We have to change what we are doing to change the results.  Operation Hornkrantz is at least something new that could deliver different results. 


The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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