Ndeitunga Defends His Namibian Citizenship

A DEFAMATION case in which Police inspector-general Sebastian Ndeitunga is suing a former magistrate for N$100 000 has veered off course and turned into a hearing on Ndeitunga’s Namibian citizenship.

With former magistrate Peter Kavaongelwa accusing Ndeitunga of having lied when he applied at the Ministry of Home Affairs in 1993 for the late registration of his birth, Ndeitunga testified in the Windhoek High Court this week about his childhood history, his ties to Namibia and his involvement in the armed struggle for the country’s Independence.

Ndeitunga acknowledged that a declaration on his application for the late registration of his birth that both of his parents were dead turned out not to be correct when he later discovered that his father was still alive. However, at the time that he made that application with the Ministry of Home Affairs he believed that what he stated in the application was true, Ndeitunga said.

He stated: “I accordingly deny that I lied under oath and further deny the defendant’s allegations that I am ‘generally a liar’ and ‘a habitual liar who shows no respect for the truth’. Such statements are reckless and intended to defame me, and as such are made with malicious intent.”

Ndeitunga testified before judge president Petrus Damaseb after he had been called back to the witness stand to respond to allegations that Kavaongelwa, also known as Peter Limbadungila Peter, made during the hearing of Ndeitunga’s defamation claim.

The police chief is suing the ex-magistrate for N$100 000 in connection with claims by Kavaongelwa that Ndeitunga had committed perjury when he gave evidence at a disciplinary hearing which preceded Kavaongelwa’s dismissal from his position as a judicial officer at the start of April 2007.

The court has heard that Kavaongelwa’s allegation prompted a high-level investigation against the inspector-general.

Ndeitunga’s claim is that Kavaongelwa’s allegation was false, malicious, defamatory and an attempt to tarnish his name. At the disciplinary hearing Ndeitunga gave evidence about a telephonic approach that he said Kavaongelwa had made to him in January 2006 in an attempt to get the police to consider withdrawing the charges on which a lawyer, Arumugam Thambapilai, had been arrested, because according to him, there was no evidence against Thambapilai and the police could be sued for millions of dollars if the case against Thambapilai proceeded.

Ndeitunga testified on Tuesday that he was born at a village in Angola, about 40 to 50 kilometres from the Namibian border, around 1962. Since he did not have a birth certificate he could not verify the date of his birth, he said.

His mother died around 1968, when he was about six years old, and he then went to live with an uncle in northern Namibia, Ndeitunga said. After working as a shepherd at a farm in the south of Namibia for about 15 months, he left the country in 1974 and joined the liberation struggle at the age of 12.

According to Ndeitunga’s testimony he was a child soldier, serving in the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (Plan) from 1974 to 1978 after he had received military training. He served as a bodyguard for a Plan commander, he said.

Ndeitunga told the judge president: “I sacrificed my youth in the liberation struggle. I can even say I lost my virginity in the liberation struggle.”

He was later sent to Cuba, where he received his education, Ndeitunga also testified. He finally returned to Namibia in 1993, and then applied to have his birth registered, he said.

Although he was born in Angola, he has always regarded himself as being a Namibian, and during his time in exile he was travelling on a United Nations document reflecting his nationality as Namibian, Ndeitunga said.

He also testified that he had been told during 1989 that his father and two of his brothers had been kidnapped and killed by Unita. It was after 1994, when he was employed at the Ministry of Home Affairs, that he learned for the first time that his father was still alive, Ndeitunga said. His father eventually died in January 2005, he said.

The case was postponed yesterday. The judge president is due to hear closing arguments from senior counsel Andrew Corbett, representing Ndeitunga, and Kavaongelwa’s lawyer, Titus Mbaeva, on 6 August.

Source : The Namibian