Six months ago the Gun Owners Association of Namibia was formally constituted by a handful of volunteers who are passionate to retain responsible private firearm ownership.
The challenges launching GOAN were substantial in the sense that no formal structure existed and the Association needed to be crafted from a blank slate. Without the benefit of previous experiences stumble blocks can only be anticipated but never accurately predicted.
The biggest problem is and remains to create a structure to capture member information into a central data base from various and diverse outlets spread along the length and width of the country.
The efforts to capture and process membership details are ongoing. The following marked the activities of GOAN since its inception and reflects a substantial input of available time resources:
Founding meeting on 11 July 2019;Drafting the GOAN Constitution
Creating a website and designing a logo;Requesting the Deputy Minister of the National Planning Commission to hand over a letter to the Chairperson of the National Council after the Amendments to the Arms and Ammunition Act of 1996 were passed by the National Assembly – with copies to the Attorney General and Minister of Safety and Security;Formalising the Constitution by calling the first Annual General Meeting and establishing a member base of GOAN at Arebush Lodge on 22 August 2019;Liaising with printed media to convey information about the amended Act;Having an interview with Radio Cosmos on the amended Act;Printing membership application books that were distributed to dealers throughout the country to broaden and diversify the membership base to include all gun owners;Providing a presentation to members of the Namibia Professional Hunting Association on the Amended Act;Presenting a submission to the Namibian President His Excellency Dr Hage Geingob, when it was learned that the Amended Bill was finally passed through Parliament without considering GOAN’s reservations;Contact was established with the President’s Special Advisor;As a result of GOAN’s actions an Advisory Committee was established between the Ministry of Safety and Security and Ministry of Justice to discuss the documentation. Ministry of Safety and Security brushed away the reservations raised by GOAN on the basis that the actual reality is different
The Bill went to the Government Printers to be printed as official government gazette on 28 November 2019 but was hold back due to the fact that the Bill was allegedly not yet signed by the President;GOAN managed to establish contact with a legal drafter from the Ministry of Justice and set up a meeting with President’s Special Advisor Adv Inge Zangwaani-Kamwi and to on 11 December 2019;The concerns regarding amendments to the Act were once again presented to representatives of State House, the Ministry of Safety and Security and the Ministry of Justice. This included substantial technical and constitutional flaws that were contained in the Bill;It transpired that the President already signed the Bill but that it was not printed by the Government Printers because the wrong version was sent to them;As a result of the meeting on 11 December 2019 some elements were changed in the Bill, but once again the main concern from GOAN were ignored by NAMPOL on the pretext that they have allegedly been discussed and agreed on in 2008; From the discussion it became clear that NAMPOL is still writing the regulations about competency testing even though there seems to be no provision in the Act to do so;The personnel required to do the competency testing allegedly still needs to be appointed which seems to involve creating new job opportunities in the Civil Service
NAMPOL seemed not to be aware that once the Act is printed it becomes law and needs to be implemented immediately – something they are (considering the revelations) not yet ready for;The affected changes technically also mean that the Bill needs to be submitted again to Parliament for approval. If this is going to happen or not is not clear.A member who represented the Ministry of Safety and Security during the December meeting suggested that discussions between NAMPOL and GOAN should take place in future.GOAN was invited for a feed-back session on its concerns by the Deputy Minister of Safety and Security on 6 February 2020.It transpired that time was not sufficient to provide the feed-back as the first point presented by the ministerial expert team was flawed and dismissed by the GOAN delegation.GOAN was subsequently invited to join the team of ministerial experts to reach consensus on the disputed points. Two meetings are scheduled to do so before feed-back is provided to the Deputy Minister, who in turn will brief the President. The GOAN delegations met to draft the relevant discussion document that focusses on practical, technical and legal aspects on the implementation of the amendments to the Act.
As can be seen, a substantial input was required to pave the road for a proper structure to which the amendment of the Act can be aligned to. As a paid-up member of GOAN please be assured that the Association tries its level best to act in the best interest of all Namibian Gun Owners within in a very narrow time frame. The following challenges are experienced:
1. All those who volunteer their time to GOAN do so free of charge but are in fulltime employment elsewhere and have limited resources and capacity to spare;
2. From 80 000 gun owners only about 1000 opted to become a GOAN member;
3. Only half of the members opted to pay the N$ 150 membership fee;
4. As a result there are insufficient funds to employ a person who can assume a dedicated role in capturing membership particulars and can provide a coordinated administrative function;
5. GOAN is presently in a precarious position where it lacks funding, support and manpower to fulfil its designated role.
In order to continue to make an impact GOAN needs the support of ALL gun owners. The present engagement is insufficient to make a tangible difference in the plight that lies ahead.
It is very obvious from the engagement so far that the legislator tried to force through amendments of the Bill without consideration of the restrictions that are forced onto legal gun owners. To address this remains our first priority and we do so with commitment and dedication.
Thanking you all for the most valuable support and relying on your continued assistance.
Chairman: Gun Owners Association of Namibia (GOAN)