Likando bemoans Supreme Court judgement on treason claim

By Risco Lumamezi

FORMER Chief Regional Officer of the then Caprivi Regional Council and Ex-Caprivi HighTreason prisoner, Mr. Patrick Itwa Likando has strongly regret recent Supreme Court judgement on treason civil claim by Mr.Richwell Kulisesa Mahupelo as a setback.

Former Chief Regional Officer of the then Caprivi Regional Council and Ex-Caprivi HighTreason prisoner, Mr. Patrick Itwa Likando

Mr.Mahupelo who was acquitted in 2013 and found not guilty to all charges of high treason and other 42 co-acussed suspects, sued the minister of Safety and Security, Prosecutor General and Government of the Republic of Namibia, and claimed N$15, 321 400 (Fifteen million three hundred and twenty one thousand four hundred Namibia dollars) for damages as his compensation for malicious prosecution.

Chief Justice Peter Shivute’s ruling on the matter last month (February 28,2019) of which the Supreme Court has referred back the matter to High Court  in which the prosecutor general was held liable to compensate the acquitted Mahupelo.

He maintained that “at the heart of this appeal lies the intricate question of the extent to which the prosecutorial authority may be held liable for a delictual claim for maintaining the prosecution allegedly without reasonable and probable cause after an identifiable event.”

“The appeal is against the judgment and order of the High Court granting a claim of malicious maintaining of a prosecution in favour of the respondent against the second appellant, the Prosecutor-General. The claim against the second appellant is founded on the allegations that the Prosecutor-General (the PG) maintained the prosecution of the respondent maliciously and without reasonable and probable cause from November 2011 onwards” said Chief Justice Shivute in his Appeal Judgement. 

However, Mr.Likando expressed doubts to the state justice system and is reacting to the ruling of his lordship Chief Justice Shivute on the issue of civil claim compensation packages in the main Caprivi High Treason matter.

“I think in a democracy that ruling is the setback because he is the highest judicial officer in this country who should advice government about human rights issues, compensation is human right and if your rights are violated you should run to the court and the court should be in force for the wrong doing that has been done for the country” He stressed

The former Caprivi Council Chief is asking the government of Namibia to compensate him for unlawful detention and for spending sixteen (16) years behind bars without any offence he committed. He is among the 35 men who were found not guilty by the High Court judge Elton Hoff on September 15, 2015.

According to Likando if the judgment was given by junior officers people would receive it with feelings “as for now people are disappointed in sense that chief justice is the person who should interpret and guard against the Constitution of the Republic of Namibia”

He lamented the fact that with the reason that whether a person is malicious prosecuted or otherwise a person is found not guilty in any trial, government should compensate such a person.

“It is the right of that person not a privilege that’s why it’s enshrined in the constitution that government should compensate whoever found not guilty, I don’t know whether the constitution was amended but I am not aware of that amendment”

He however reacted to what he said in his last interview with this paper that government should compensate all those who were found not guilty in the main marathon of the Caprivi high treason case with the reason that if a person is put on trial and he or she is before a qualified judiciary officer and found not guilty by a competent court of law such a person is entitled for compensation as prescribed by constitution.

He added that the government has been looking for the loophole into the current ruling so that they should not be compensated as they do not want to pay them with unknown reasons but only known by the government and that the ruling they have been looking for they got it.

“I think we should also ask human rights organisations like Namrights, lawyers without borders to take our issue outside Namibia because the domestic remedies has been exhausted now when it goes outside Namibia the N$29 million that I asked to be paid I will ask it in US dollars and it is going to be too heavy to the government because this time Namibia will compensate on an international accepted standards” explained a concerned ex-prisoner.

This ex-prisoner is calling on the Namibian government not to revoke and set aside the issue before court, saying that it is a public knowledge and the current president Dr. Hage Geingob was the chairman of the constituent assembly that drafted the Namibian Constitution where compensation is included.

“Nor they were forced to include it or they didn’t understand what they were including in the constitution”.

He also pointed out that the Namibian constitution in 1990 was widely received by the International Community but the current ruling is the secrecy to democracy, and as such compensation is a human right issue and no way it can be ignored.

“Why am saying so there’s no -one and nobody who has been prosecuted for sixteen years without being found guilty and then that person should just walk away at home and stay, that thing is not good its malicious prosecution” he added.

He told Caprivi Vision that he was surprised on the recent matter where an 88-year-old man Mr. Moses Matemwa was collected at Masokotwani, south of Katima Mulilo to go and testify in the matter of the accused suspect Mr. Progress Munuma and others who are still tried on the Caprivi high treason case.

“What disheartens me is that an old man is blind, what do you need to achieve with the testimony of a blind man who doesn’t know whether is in court or the persons is testifying against are present in court is that not malicious prosecution, just imagine?”

He suggested that the Caprivi case is a political case that needs to be resolved politically not by the courts with thus it’s not a criminal case.

“Moto Albius Liseli is being tried alone up-to this moment, this guy has never been found guilty but they have brought lot of witnesses being sitting alone in the dock and his case has never reached a logical conclusion, tell me is that not malicious prosecution? What are they still looking for? That’s why I said treason matter is not for court it’s for politicians, treason is political and it should be handled by politicians” He questioned.

He therefore asking the sitting president Geingob, to free all Caprivi political prisoners who are still in custody as he has all powers like constitutional rights, powers to engage in discussion with the exiled president of United Democratic Party, Mr. Mishake Muyongo to end the issue of Caprivi through political dialogue as it happened recently with the newly elected president of DRC Felix Tshisekedi.

 “People should not say we don’t have problems in this country, while others are in exile, in prison why can’t we engage these people because in democracy we talk and debate issues if you have facts you win your case if you don’t have you lose, that is what am asking the state president to do this, am not demanding, his political counterpart from DRC was here in Namibia he told him that he is going to free all political prisoners in the DRC”.

He asked president Geingob to emulate examples of the then apartheid former South African president Frederik Willem de Klerk who unbanned the African National Congress (ANC) and released Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu and many other political prisoners in that country.

Likando suggested that the likes of former member of parliament Mr.Geoffrey Mwilima and others who are languishing in Namibian prisons should be conditionally released by president Geingob.

Meanwhile,in an effort to hear response from Namibian president Dr.Geingob on the Caprivi political dispute, Press Secretary for the presidency Dr.Alfredo Hengari asked this paper to send set of questions and a website link to him which were all furnished to his e-mail and cell phone for immediate feedback but all to no avail, as every-time when asked for feedback, he usually says the president will respond in due course but nothing is yield.







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