News and Information
Treason trial witness tells court of 'old man Muyongo, my parent'
|September 17, 2004
| WERNER MENGES
THE second prosecution witness in the Caprivi high treason case is a self-professed former bodyguard of Mishake Muyongo, who claims he also recruited people for the cause of seceding the Caprivi Region.
That the State's second witness in the trial, Oscar Munisitwela Mwisepi, was finding himself between a rock and a hard place was evident within seconds of him stepping into the witness box yesterday.
Immediately after Mwisepi had been sworn in as a witness, Deputy Prosecutor General Herman January asked the judge to apply a section of the Criminal Procedure Act that caters for situations where a suspected accomplice of accused persons is used as a State witness against his alleged partners in crime.
January told Judge Elton Hoff that Mwisepi would be asked to answer questions incriminating himself on all counts faced by the accused, and asked the Judge to warn him accordingly.
Judge Hoff told Mwisepi that, having been called as a witness for the State, he was obliged to give evidence, that he could face incriminating questions and that he would be obliged to answer these.
Further, if he answered all questions put to him "frankly and honestly", he would be discharged from prosecution on the charges that the 120 accused before court face.
In the first part of his testimony, January took Mwisepi back to August 2 1999 - the day it is alleged that armed separatists attacked targets at Katima Mulilo.
Mwisepi told the court that he was home, in his bed, when he heard the sounds of gunfire coming "from all directions" of Katima Mulilo.
When dawn broke, he set off for his parents' home.
On the way, he saw that a relative of his, a certain Majority, had been killed at his car in the centre of the town.
Mwisepi was probably referring to Namibia Defence Force Warrant Officer Majority Likonga Siloiso, who was one of three NDF members killed in front of the town's Ngweze Post Office.
He had, however, known before that day why the attacks were going to take place, Mwisepi testified.
"There was an idea of seceding the Caprivi Region from the rest of the nation," he explained.
The first that he heard of this was in 1998, the year he completed his Grade 10 education at Liselo Combined School, Mwisepi said.
At some stage that year, Mishake Muyongo chaired a meeting at Liselo - some 10 kilometres south of Katima Mulilo - where a plan to form an army that would be used to separate the Caprivi Region from the rest of Namibia was discussed.
That the secession was to take place in one of two ways - through the barrel of a gun, or through negotiation - was also a point of discussion at the meeting, Mwisepi claimed.
Muyongo said at the meeting that he needed young men to assist him with this plan, and he (Mwisepi) was, like others, enthusiastic, Mwisepi said.
"It was a very brilliant idea to me," he told the court.
Also present was one Alfred Tawana, who acted as an interpreter.
One of the accused before court is also called Alfred Tawana.
Mwisepi related that he joined others in signing up for Muyongo's plan.
One of the first parts of the plan envisaged at that stage was that the road bridges at Kongola and Divundu had to be sabotaged, he revealed.
Registering recruits after the Liselo meeting were one Thaddeus Ndala and Eugine Ngalaule, Mwisepi added.
Two of the 120 accused before court have those same names.
Mwisepi said he was assigned to be a bodyguard for Muyongo.
His continued respect for the former DTA leader was evident during his testimony.
He frequently referred to Muyongo as "the old man", and "my parent".
Muyongo is his uncle, he later explained.
Another of his tasks was to mobilise people to join Muyongo's cause, Mwisepi testified.
"I found it to be an easy task, because most of us were interested," he said.
According to Mwisepi, Ngalaule and one Fabian Samiyasa - the name of another of the 120 accused - were among those performing a similar task.
Ngalaule was also one of the people who had to transport recruits to points where they could cross the border to Botswana, Mwisepi added.
He said among the things they told would-be recruits was that everything was in place, that guns and uniforms were ready, that their army had been formed.
"The only thing that remained was that we had to go and prepare ourselves," Mwisepi stated.
"After we had prepared ourselves, we must come back to fight."
It was on that note that the court adjourned for the weekend yesterday.
Mwisepi is scheduled to continue with his testimony on Monday.
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