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Mudge asks govt to acquit all Caprivi prisoners
August 7, 2009
Mudge asks govt to acquit all Caprivi prisoners

By Risco Lumamezi in Windhoek

PRESIDENT of the Republican Party of Namibia (RP) Mr. Henk Mudge,who represents a minority opposition party in the Namibia’s National Assembly, called government to release all Caprivi prisoners if intends to pardon 117 alleged members of the Caprivi Liberation Movement (CLM) who have been held since August 2, 1999.

Caprivi Vision established from reliable sources within the Parliament that Cabinet ministers have allegedly debated the issue to release some of the detained Caprivians .
When caught up with Mr. Mudge to hear clarity on why his party is raising this issue during this election time and it is almost five years since it was voted for parliament.
“ I also heard via the grape vine that Cabinet has discussed this issue last week and my information is that they plan to release "some" of the accused. It should be clear that the release of only "some" will obviously not be acceptable to us.”

He said , he is convinced that ALL the accused persons should be granted amnesty on the grounds that “I guess that the Swapo government realizes that they have problems and probably think that should they release some of the accused, they would achieve some credibility. It will in any case just be a campaign trick with the President welcoming those released at a big function in Katima Mulilo. The Caprivians must be very careful and not play along.” He said.

He refuted that his demand was not meant to form part of his election campaign.“I have been to the Windhoek prison sometime ago where I have met with the accused. They requested me to take up this issue. Until recently I was very hesitant to do anything publicly, because I did not want to jeopardize their chances to be granted a pardon. The situation however has changed when I got legal arguments which clearly indicate that according to our Constitution as well as international treaties etc. the Ministry of Justice actually has no choice but to release them and this is why I held the


He pointed out that his party will instruct its lawyers and the international agencies to decide what need to be done to effect the release of ALL the accused.

“ Myself as President of the Republican Party have visited the Caprivi region on a regular basis since our reactivation in 2003, because I can identify with their plight. The RP was always honest with the people and unlike all the other political parties, we always refrained from making empty promises to them. This time around we will make a promise and that is : " Make us strong and we will make you strong!" The Caprivians have been mislead for many years, first neglected by the DTA and then misused by Swapo.”

Republican Party has one (1) seat at Katima Mulilo Town Council, represented by Mr. Geoffrey Chilinda who is also the Vice President of the party since 2004.
“ I trust that the Caprivian people will reach the stage and I think it is very soon, when they will realize that the Republican Party is serious, that we want to represent them, because we know that we will Force the Government to attend to the needs of the people of the Caprivi. Fact remains that the power to bring about change is in the hands of the people. They must decide whom they can trust and then Vote that Party into power. We believe that the only Party who can do that, is the RP. When coming to the Caprivi soon, I will personally try to visit every single village and spread our message. Most important is for the Caprivians not to be mislead by parties who go there and make promises to the people, knowing that they cannot fulfill in those promises.” He promised.

Meanwhile, Mudge told Journalists , Human Rights Defenders and members of the Civil Society at the gathering held in the Parliament building in Windhoek on Wednesday that:“The notion in law of trial within a reasonable time is of special relevance to the Caprivi case. This notion forms part of an extensive body of applicable International Human Rights Treaties and Conventions as well as the Jurisprudence of National States.”

He lamented the fact that the marathon detention of the Caprivians is the violation of the principal International Human Rights Treaties and Conventions, which includes the International Bill of Human Rights, the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights and the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights ( ICCPR) which Namibia signed.

According to him , The International Bill of Rights consists of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of (1948), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its two Optional Protocols.

“In Law, there is admittedly a tension between the demands of sovereignty placed on States and Governments inter alia the responsibility to protect and defend the integrity of the State, and to maintain peace and security. This is also a constitutional demand in Namibia and is not in dispute here.”

He argued that “In criminal law jurisprudence there are two schools of thought on the appropriate remedy to be ordered in the case of violation of the right to fair trial, whether an order for a stay of prosecution (and order to abort the trial) or an order for a speedy trial.”

“It must be obvious that the Swapo government has overstepped all human and legal boundaries and made themselves guilty of gross human rights violations and abuse, for having allowed the security forces to commit acts of cruelty and torture against some, if not most of the accused, in direct violation of not only the Convention Against Torture and other Acts of Cruelty, Degrading and Human Treatment or Punishment that was ratified by the Government on 28 November 2008, but also the Namibian Constitution which clearly states in Art. 8 (2)(b) that: No person shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”

Republican leader quashed in his statement that,“ The fact is most if not all the accused have been tortured and cruelly punished, the question is what happened to the perpetrators? Were they apprehended and tried, if so, when and if not, why not and who then is supposed to ensure that the Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms of the people of Namibia, not only be protected but also enforced?

“It is also clear, that the Swapo government is in material breach of, not only our own Constitution, but also international Treaties / Conventions and Declarations, for having failed to ensure that the accused received a fair trial within a reasonable time.”

“The fact that basically the entire leadership of the Mafwe tribe had been removed and jailed in the process and “appointment” and recognition of other traditional leaders who are perceived to be mere puppets of the Swapo government also raises a few question marks. But the most important fact is that the way in which this Caprivi Issue was dealt with by the Swapo Government has caused immense pain, suffering and humiliation, physically and mentally, not only to the accused, but also to their families, due to the absence of their fathers, brothers, husbands and sons – the breadwinners. One can safely say that the Caprivi Region as a whole has been suffering tremendously..”

“Here now is an excellent opportunity for the Namibia government to prove to the world that it is serious in subscribing to the said international principles and it is for this reason that we humbly request His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Namibia Hifikepunye Pohamba to act in the interest of Namibia as a constitutional and sovereign state and to release all the accused in the Caprivi Trial forthwith. To pardon and to release the Caprivians accused of high treason, would amount to moral action that speaks of innate strength and an unwavering belief in the intrinsic value of the human person. It would amount to more than a symbolic act, but would demonstrate to every Namibian and to the world, that national reconciliation, justice, fairness, and equality are the cornerstones of our Republic”.

“ Let them go home, reconcile with their families and start to make their contribution to develop their region for the benefit of not only the Caprivians, but also the Namibian Nation as a whole. We would however like to caution that should the accused not be released, then we, the Republican Party of Namibia will encourage the human rights organizations amongst others Amnesty International, to assist us in taking this issue to court as well as the international arena, because it should be evident that the Government cannot win this one.”

CAPTION: Seen on this photo is Mr. Henk Mudge President of the Republican Party of Namibia (CENTRE) Ms Clara Gowases Vice Chairperson (left) and Mr. Tartisius Gaeseb, Secretary General during the press Conference held at the Parliament Conference room.(Photo taken by Risco Lumamezi)

Source: Caprivi Vision Newspaper

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