By Simon Liseli
FORMER Caprivi Regional Council Chief Regional Officer ( CRO) and ex-Caprivi trial awaiting prisoner, Mr. Patrick Itwa Likando is calling on the government of Namibia under President Dr. Hage Geingob to adequately compensate him N$29 million for unlawful detention.
This former Chief Regional Officer (CRO) worked for the then Caprivi Regional Council as its first CRO from 1993 up to the time of his arrest in August 4, 1999.
He made this call after spending two years without any action from the government of compensating all treason suspects whose charges were dismissed by the high court of Namibia after being found not guilty on suspicious allegations of seceding the then Caprivi region from the rest of the Namibia.
Mr. Likando is one of the thirty five (35) men whose charges were on surprise brought down by Judge Elton Hoff on September 14, 2015 and found guilty to other thirty (30) convict’s men. “Since our release from prison up to the present day nothing is happening” Noted Mr. Likando.
He appealed to the seating president of the Republic of Namibia since at the time he was the chairperson of the constituent assembly that drafted the Namibian constitution that enshrined fundamental rights amongst compensation packages’.
“We do not know why he is quiet on this issue and we want him to pronounce himself on this issue of compensation because if you are not found guilty in this country you have the right to be fairly compensated by the government and government is not doing that” said concerned ex- treason prisoner who spent 16 years behind bars and was found not guilty at the end of the marathon trial.
He was arrested on August 4, 1999 upon instructions from Windhoek saying all UDP supporters and Mafwe prominent people who were on key positions should be arrested.
Asked whether he made some follow-ups on compensation issue, Mr. Likando remarked “immediately when I arrived I met with the honourable governor Sampofu since he is the government representative of this region, I asked him to take our issue to the government to adequately compensate us because this issue of going to courts does not yield any results and we haven’t seen any development in this issue. Hon governor promised to do it but no respond since that time” he stressed.
According to him, government is reluctant on the issue of compensation as it turns like Herero reparation story. Likando demands N$ 29,000 000 from the government for punishing him in prison without committing any crime.
“I have put a claim with the lawyer who is representing me and I haven’t heard any development so far, there is no feed back to show the stand of the government whether it is acknowledging or what” he recalled.
He also broke the silence on the long trial saying a lot of injustices went in the Caprivi when they were arrested, “just imagine you are arrested today some of our friends were just dismissed from their work and there’s this issue of 30 days rule absent from work that you are dismissed from work because you did not report on duty within 30 days, how do you report on duty while in prison arrested by the same government” questioned the former CRO.
On the issue of presumption of innocent Mr.Likando is of the idea that it should be seriously considered because a person is presumed innocence until proven or found guilty by a competent court of law. He demands the government to pay him from August 1999 when he was arrested until 2015 when he was acquitted in the trial.
At the time of his arrest Mr. Likando was working as Chief Regional Officer of the then Caprivi Regional Council and his pension is also still outstanding but it was already claimed.
“I mentioned of 30 days rule, in my case it was a sick legal opinion from the attorney general and I was not quoted with that legal opinion, I expressed myself that I was not happy with the opinion of 30 days rule that’s why I am saying a person in this country will be innocent until proven guilty by courts of law but if you are dismissed before you are found guilty that contradicts with the constitution of the country. Its only that am poor I could challenge this to courts of law” He explained.
He strongly believes that some issues contradict with the constitution of the country which is the supreme law of Namibia that should be highly respected. He appealed to human rights organizations to seek for lawyers to challenge the issue of acquitted treason suspects.
“Namibia is a constitutional state and it should remain as such, issues should be done according to the law” he added.
Asked whether convicted men in the treason case were guilty or not Patrick has this to say “I don’t think they are guilty because they were triad on a political matter which is not for the court but for Politician to address it and am asking the seating president to look on the matter because he has all powers to solve the Caprivi issue not resorting to courts that brings sufferings and when the president will address this issue he will gain more respect to the people in the region and to the entire world” He said.
Mr. Itwa Likando hopes that in the New Year the seating president shall do something to people in prison and also to those in exile.
“Let us not cheat ourselves that they are no problems, there are problems is why some people are out side and how do we solve such problems? Am still asking for simple justice to be done men to men am not asking for complicated justice but am asking for simple justice to be done to us all because this country is build on democracy and justice for all, now if people are in exile and in prison where is good governance? I want the president to answer this because we are talking of good governance in this country” questioned Mr.Likando.
Mr. Itwa called on Zambezi regional governor to address problems to show good governance. When posed a question to give an overview at the time when he was arrested he has this to say “My brother the issues of arrest in those days as I said it was just random, people were arrested randomly. If you were perceived by government to be Mr. Muyongo supporter you will be arrested. The time I was arrested the drama was very bad and I don’t want even to talk about it because it makes me angry as I am a law a binding citizen of this country.”
“Sometimes I don’t want talking about this because it’s too bad. On the day I was to report at work and I was told that the police were at my house and left a message that I have to report at the police station and I went there because I had nothing to fear, when I arrived I was savagely beaten is why am saying I don’t want to talk much about this because I don’t want to open old wounds and I have forgiven those people who perpetrated that torture on me but what I need is compensation from government and what I believe is that we are all human beings who should ford ahead with reconciliation in this country” he concluded.
Mr. Itwa Likando worked as a financial clerk in the then Caprivi administration from 1980 to August 30, 1986 and thereafter he worked as a siLozi Radio Announcer in the then South West African Broadcasting Corporation (SWABC) from 1986 to 1991.
He then later worked in the Office of the Auditor General as an Assistant Auditor.In 1993 up to August 4, 1999 at his initial arrest on allegation of seceding Caprivi Region from Namibia he was working as Chief Regional Officer of the then Caprivi Regional Council (CRC).
He is 62 years old surviving with his 7 children and he is making a living as a subsistence farmer at Chefuzwe village near Katima Mulilo town.
Namrights Executive Director Mr. Phil Ya Nangolo when contacted said the case has been dragging for too long without a response, “those people are represented by various lawyers and should keep in touch with them to hear if they are some progress but they have rights to be compensated for unlawful detention” Said ya Nangolo.
He said the will of judiciary of Namibia goes to slow with various reasons such as schedule of judges which is full and much more legitimate because of schedule of judges which is full and government delay because compensation claims are very high.
“Though they are some various reasons they should just wait and government should also look on it as a matter of agency since they are entitled for compensation and I know that problem is faced by those who sued government in 2015” He added.
Mr. Nangolo hope that the case of other 8 treason suspects which was transferred to the high court will come to an end in the next trial of the New Year and all other convicted men should also be released.
“The case of 8 men that has been going again and again in court I hope it will come to an end in the New Year, I went to testify in the court when the lawyer asked me and I did that but those people were not suppose to be tried in Namibia because they are foreigners since Caprivi is not Namibia and not part of Namibia, history is clear” he concluded.