State Acquits 43 Caprivi Treason prisoners


Free Caprivi prisoners re-unite with their families at the main gate of Windhoek Central Prison on late evening of February 11, 2013
Free Caprivi prisoners re-unite with their families at the main gate of Windhoek Central Prison on late evening of February 11, 2013

Loud jubilation and wet tears of joy was the order of the day from families, friends and sympathizers who flocked to the Windhoek Central Prisons main gate to welcome 43 alleged secessionist prisoners who were acquitted and cleared of all 278 charges of treason on February 11.

More than 200 people were shouting and weeping along the crowed entrance leading to the gate, with many of them lured by the hope that their relatives would be among the 43 from the 108 who were released from custody after 13 years behind bars.

The 43 detainees, who were arrested in 1999, were freed to go out of the prison following their successful prosecution case that indicated that they were not linked to the allegations they faced under the Caprivi high treason trail before Judge Elton Hoff.Judge Hoff denied 65 accused to be discharged.

The trail is set to start on February 25 among the 65 accused men are Mr.John Samboma, alleged commander of the Caprivi Liberation Army (CLA),  former member of parliament Mr.Geoffrey Mwilima who believed to have been organising the politics of secession publicly and who suffered a torture at the hands of the Namibian police and members of the Namibia Defence Force after August 2, 1999 and other accused personalities are Mr.Gabriel Mwilima, Mr.George Kasanga and Mr.Barnard Mucheka. the remaining accused persons are conduct their own defence or to remain silent.

The high treason detainees stood accused of trying to succeed Caprivi region from the rest of Namibia. Violent attacks erupted at the town, which left several civilians dead and infrastructure damaged, while Namibia Broadcasting Corporation siLozi Service Radio station was taken hostage to announce the take-over.

Caprivi Vision witnessed families of those who jumped out of the prison pick-up, crying and clutching fists before they broke out shouting and weeping while their families bowed down in prayer, kissing the ground.

Judge Hoff discharged Calvin Liseli Malumo, Richard Mungulike, Fred Ziezo, Chris Sitali Mushe, Tobias Kananga, Gilbert Poshowe, Phelem Mboozi Mutuwangele, Isaya Shaft Kamwanga, John Tibiso Masake, Adams Muyumbano, Joseph Mufuhi, Obrien Mwananyambe,

Ernest Salufu Samuzala, Joseph Kabunyana, Thadues Mundube, Francis Mubita.

Micheal Mundia Mubyana, Ricahrd Sawake, Oscar Gilson Libuo, Elvis Puteho, Simon Max Mubita, Wilson Mutumuswana, Molisious Simone, Chrispin Samahali, Stephen Ntelamo, Linus Chombo, George Mutanimiye. Kennedy Chunga, Aggrey Muamba.

Vasco Inambao Lyonga, Jacob Linus Musondeke, Stephen Kandela Mashando, Chombo Elvin Kauhano, Bosco Matengu Makapa, Richwell Kulisesa Mahupelo, Moven Kawana Chombo and Linus Kashala Luseso.

Fredrik Lutuhezi, Victor Lunyandile, Ernest Lifasi, Charles Samboma, Kisko Sakuseka and Genese John Kabotana.

Most of the acquitted detainees were hurriedly hurled into vehicle waiting to transport them to the homes of their relatives in Windhoek.

Free at last: one of the high treason detainees who was acquitted from custody, Mr.Obrien Mwananyambe.
Free at last: one of the high treason detainees who was acquitted from custody, Mr.Obrien Mwananyambe.

“They were accussed and wrongfully detained for so many years. The lord answered our prayers and released them to us. Families have been torn apart but we have hope that our breadwinners will now take charge,” chanted a University of Namibia Student.

One of the released detainees, Mwananyambe, said he was happy to be out. He said is hoping to travel back to his hometown and village to meet the rest of his family member.

Mwananyambe also indicated that he bears no grudge over his 13 years detention in custody but will focus his energy to prayer for his friends that remained behind bars,

“Prison is not an easy place to leave.  I have been robbed of many years that I am now wishing to catch up with family. I am to old to return to formal work or school so it is my plans to go back to my village to plough and farm,” Mwananyambe said.

Meanwhile, the application of section 174 of the criminal procedure Act 51 of 1977, started before the Windhoek Central Prison High Court on September 3, 2012 after the state closed the case on February 7,2012 which has been running since 2003, saw ten defence counsels arguing before the state to have their clients released from 13 years of detention.

The trial was marred by allegations of torture, bribery, false statements, name-calling and false implications of accused to be part of the Caprivi Liberation Army, which allegedly launched attacks at Katima Mulilo in 1999.

The remaining accused are facing a total of 278 charges, including counts of high treason, sedition, nine counts of murder, and 240 charges of attempted murder.

All freed Caprivi prisoners were represented by the ten defence counsel who was made up of Mr.Gerson Nyoni, Mr.Percy McNally, Mr.Patrick Kauta, Mr.Profesyn Muluti, Mr.Victor Kachaka, Mr.Clive Kavendjii,Mr. Henry Kruger, Mr.Jonathan Samukange, Mr.Jorge Neves and Mr.Christopher Dube.

Defence Counsels such as Mr.Nyoni who took the first stand at the beginning of their arguments September 2012,  argued that his clients were falsely accused by witnesses who were tortured and intimidated to point them out for arrest.

Mr.Nyoni further argued that many of the state witnesses could not identify the accused before the court, an act that he described as ‘questionable’.

During the beginning of the trial, the state witnesses contradicted their initial police statements when they revealed that they had suffered high-exercise torture, which left many of them impotent.








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