When Is A Man A Father?

A man named Alfeus Abraham, in 2010 entered a house in Otjiwarongo with a shotgun and mercilessly followed Eleide Tsaes through the house, eventually shooting her fatally.

Three years after that fateful day, judgment was passed on the matter and Abraham is facing a 30 year jail term with some years suspended. This man, who in cold blood, planned and executed the murder of his then intimate partner, before the sentencing, was hoping for clemency from the court, claiming that he is the father of 33 children, seven of which he apparently paid maintenance for before he killed Tsaes.

Now, I beg you, how can this obviously brutal man make any claim for being a father? What qualifies one to be a father? Surely, there is at lease a  gender-role expectation that goes beyond the anatomical act of procreation if one is to be considered a father. Being a father is a commitment to fatherhood – which implies that there is a relationship with and responsibility towards one’s offspring and that there is a genuine interest and involvement in the care and raising of his offspring. The absence of an interest, commitment and involvement in childcare, in our view, automatically disqualify men from fatherhood.

A  man who so readily can kill a woman with whom he had an intimate relationship with (or anybody else for that matter) can reasonably also be expected to be absent in the raising of “the fruit of his loins.”  Even men who are making legally enforced contributions to the maintenance of their children, but who cannot have a relationship with and care for that child, are not fathers. They merely are mere sperm donors. We have to remember that even a worm can be a sperm donor.

Persons like Alfeus Abraham, unfortunately have come to epitomise what being a “father” is in the Namibian context. This, we believe is the root cause of gender inequality and violence against women. Our children, especially our boys, are taught that men can spawn 33 children without any consequence or responsibility to these children. In fact, more often than not, the so-called fathers are only seen when making further demands on the mothers of these children. Should the woman or multiple women  refuse these demands, or act in ways that are not approved by the sperm donor, he would think nothing to put a bullet/ knife through her/ them. This will happen with zero consideration for that women or the children which she may have from that relationship.

In conclusion it is absolutely ridiculous for a man like Alfeus Abraham to beg for compassion and moderation from a court on the grounds that he is the father of 33 children. He is not, nor has he ever been a father. He in all likelihood has as much contempt for “his” children as he had had for their mother(s.)  If you cannot mete out compassion and care to your children, by extension to their mothers, then you are not worthy of pity, not from a court of law, and not from society at large.