Namibia is considering reintroducing Bible studies in public classrooms in order to combat the rising problem of alcohol and drug abuse that some say is eroding the country's moral values.
The Ondonga Traditional Authority (OTA) in Namibia said that it is time for the country to look back to its religious roots. Bible study has not been permitted in schools ever since the African country won independence and declared itself to be a secular state.
OTA Secretary Josef Asino has also called for a National Prayer Day that will look at the rising rates of violence inflicting the country, and consider how bringing back Bible study can help the nation's youth learn about proper morals, website New Era Namibia reported Wednesday.
"At every second or third house, in most suburbs, there is a shebeen (liquor outlet) and in some cases, these shebeens – whether licensed or not – are set up in close proximity to schools and this is where most of the crimes are committed," Asino said at the residence of the King of Ondonga Elifas Kauluma, during the visit of Minister of Information and Communication Technology Joël Kaapanda.
"Traditional Leaders are neither consulted nor involved in the process of formulating policies that have a direct bearing on their day to day activities. The institution of traditional believes and religion has been in existence since time immemorial and have survived many hardships under past colonial regimes," he continued.
The OTA Secretary noted that Bostwana and South Africa also have very high numbers of liquor outlets, which he claimed has created many problems in those countries related to alcohol abuse, corruption, and passion killings.
"Our children do not have respect for the elderly anymore. There is a need for collective efforts to develop the interest of future generations about indigenous knowledge and the role of traditional leaders in our communities," Asino added.
Asino made sure to note that it was not just youths engaging in the violence spreading around Namibia – the purported breach in moral values was affecting the highest level of office as well.
"What is equally disturbing is that some senior government officials own shebeens, which is not a good example for ordinary citizens. Some of these outlets owned by senior officials operate way beyond the official operating hours," Asino continued.
"Government cannot allow this situation to continue. We are destroying our future and give a very bad example to the young generation, therefore senior government officials should not be allowed to own shebeens," he concluded.
The CIA Factbook estimated that between 80 to 90 percent of the Namibian population identify themselves as Christian, with 50 percent of those belonging to the Lutheran Church.