News and Information
Treason suspect wants Presidents 'in the dock'
|January 16, 2007
| Treason suspect wants Presidents 'in the dock'
FORMER President Sam Nujoma, President Hifikepunye Pohamba, former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda, and exiled alleged secessionist leader Mishake Muyongo must be summoned to testify in the main Caprivi high treason trial, one of the 119 men accused in the trial demanded yesterday.
The quartet of Presidents - two former Presidents of their country, one the serving President of Namibia, and one the former President of an opposition party, the DTA of Namibia, and also an unsuccessful past candidate in a presidential election in Namibia - should be summoned to testify as defence witnesses in the treason trial, Aggrey Makendano told Judge Elton Hoff in the High Court in Windhoek.
Former teacher Makendano, who is designated as Accused Number 11 in the trial, relayed this request to the Judge in an address at the start of the first proceedings in the trial for this year.
The trial on November 27 last year went into a recess lasting a month and a half.
Makendano told the Judge that he was addressing him on behalf of 30 of the accused men in the trial.
These 30 are on trial without legal representation, and have not been participating in proceedings by cross-examining witnesses on their own behalf since becoming unrepresented before the court.
The lawyers who had previously represented them on instructions from the Legal Aid Directorate all ended their representation - some as far back as at the beginning of February 2005 - when their clients insisted that they wanted their defence counsel to pursue a jurisdiction challenge in which they were to argue that the Caprivi Region had never actually legally constituted part of Namibia.
This, the lawyers felt, was a stillborn argument, doomed to failure, but their now former clients have since then continued to insist that this was just the sort of strategy they want to follow in their trial.
CAPRIVI AGREEMENT Makendano told Judge Hoff that he and the other unrepresented charged men had asked the Judge at the beginning of November 2005 already to direct that they should be transported to Katima Mulilo so that they could be closer to their families.
This was needed to enable them to raise funds through their relatives with which they would be able to pay other lawyers to pursue the jurisdiction challenge, they informed the court.
Makendano once more repeated this request yesterday, and complained that previous pleas on this score had been ignored up to now.
"It is a fact, my Lord, that the State cannot grant us leave to go to Katima Mulilo because they know that Caprivi is not part of Namibia and they cannot stand in the court of law and challenge us on the jurisdiction issue because within ten minutes a red card would be issued to them and get out of the Caprivi for ever more," he said.
"We want to be masters of our own country and this is the reason why we, the Caprivi 30, say that the Namibian authority deserves no space in Caprivi," he added.
If only he could be given willing legal representation he would be able to prove to the court that he was correct when he said that the Caprivi Region was not legally part of Namibia, Makendano declared.
To prove his case, though, and "for the Pandora box to be opened," Makendano said, he would need to call about 10 witnesses.
This includes the quartet of Presidents, who would specifically have to testify about the agreement through which a political party then led by Muyongo, the Caprivi African National Union (Canu), merged with Swapo in 1964.
According to Makendano and his colleagues, this merger agreement included an undertaking that once the independence of Namibia had been attained, the Caprivi Region would in turn also become an independent country on its own.
Nujoma signed this agreement, as did Muyongo, while Pohamba was an observer who witnessed the deal and Kaunda facilitated it, Makendano said.
He wants all four of them to be summoned to give evidence on behalf of the unrepresented 30, Makendano said.
About Nujoma, he remarked: "We need him before this court.
This is serious."
He wants Nujoma "in the dock" - he was probably trying to refer to the witness box - where he wanted the ex-President to be cross-examined, Makendano said.
NO AGREEMENT Nujoma has in the past denied that the Canu/Swapo merger agreement included any undertaking guaranteeing the Caprivi Region its own independence.
Despite numerous, repeated references to this agreement, none of the high treason suspects who have mentioned it have ever been able to produce a copy of it.
Makendano however announced yesterday that he now has a copy of the agreement, and he will still produce it - some time in the future.
He concluded his address with this statement: "It is dangerous to be right when something is wrong."
The Office of the Ombudsman appears to have taken up the request of Makendano and his co-accused to be transferred to Katima Mulilo with Lieutenant General Sebastian Ndeitunga, the Inspector General of the Namibian Police.
Ndeitunga's reply to this request was short and dismissive, according to a copy of a letter that he wrote to the Office of the Ombudsman on December 7 last year, and which Makendano handed to the court yesterday.
"The Namibian Police will not provide the 21 accused persons with any transport to advance their cause to secede Caprivi from the rest of Namibia," was Ndeitunga's one-sentence answer to the Ombudsman's office.
Judge Hoff's reply to Makendano's address yesterday was that he would consider it and give a ruling on it in due course.
| Support Caprivi Freedom
Fill out the form below to become a member of this site and receive our regular newsletter.