Caprivi Eight Still Waiting for Chief Justice

Eight alleged Caprivi secessionists, who petitioned the Chief Justice to hear an appeal on the dismissal of their application to appeal Judge Petrus Unengu’s judgment on their special plea of jurisdiction, are still waiting for a decision from the country’s highest court, the Supreme Court.

Judge Unengu was yesterday told by the lawyer for Progress Kenyoka Munuma, Shine Samulandela Samulandela, Manuel Manepelo Makendano, Alex Sinjabata Mushakwa, Diamond Samunzala Salufu, Hoster Simasiku Ntombo, Boster Mubuyaeta Samuele and John Mazila Tembwe that the Supreme Court informed him that it is still busy evaluating the petition.

Prominent human rights Lawyer Norman Tjombe, who lodged the special plea after their convictions on high treason were set aside by the Supreme Court and ordered to be retried in the High Court, asked the court to postpone the matter pending the outcome of the petition.

Unengu granted the request and postponed the matter to July 30 after State Aocate Neville Wamambo did not object to it.

The eight claim they were abducted from Botswana and brought to Namibia by officials from the Namibian government with the full knowledge and co-operation of the Botswana government.

Unengu dismissed the appeal application in March this year.

The accused, except for Frederick Isaka Ntambila – who was arrested in the Zambezi Region, then Caprivi Region, questioned the High Court’s jurisdiction over them.

They are charged with counts of high treason, sedition, public violence and the illegal importation of weapons and ammunition.

It is alleged they took part in a conspiracy aimed at overthrowing the Namibian government in the former Caprivi Region between September 1998 and December 2003. They were already convicted of high treason in July 2007 and sentenced to jail terms ranging from 30 to 32 years.

The convictions and sentences were however set aside by the Supreme Court in July 2014 and it was ordered that they should be retried in the High Court.

In his judgment dismissing their appeal application, Unengu said no evidence was presented to prove abduction and or kidnapping and that the High Court has the jurisdiction to try them.

He also dismissed claims he misdirected himself by coming to such a conclusion.

During their evidence-in-chief all the men had the same story to tell.

They all said that they were taken from Dukwe Refugee Camp where they were residing as asylum seekers to Francistown Security Prison illegally.

From there they were transported to the Centre for Illegal Immigrants also in Francistown where they were detained unlawfully on the request of the Namibian authorities.

They said from the centre for illegal immigrants they were transported to the Ngoma Border Post under escort of armed Botswana Police Force, at times assisted by the army.

According to the accused, they were at all times handcuffed and leg-chained.

Source : New Era