News and Information

Treason witness set to tell of 'Muyongo's songs'
March 15, 2005


THE tenth prosecution witness in the Caprivi high treason trial is expected to start in earnest with his testimony in the High Court at Grootfontein today.

The witness, whose identity may not be revealed by the media in terms of an order from Judge Elton Hoff, had barely started to give evidence on Tuesday last week before objections from the defence side of the court once again brought proceedings to a temporary halt.

On Wednesday last week, the trial was further postponed to today, because one of the defence counsel appearing for some of the 120 men on trial, Jonathan Samukange, could not be present in court due to illness.

The postponement came after a ruling by Judge Hoff on a defence objection that the tenth witness's testimony was venturing into the realm of hearsay evidence.

Hearsay evidence - a statement made by someone who is not charged in a trial or is not set to testify in that trial - is normally not allowed in terms of Namibian law.

In this trial, though, some hearsay will be allowed, in terms of Judge Hoff's ruling.

The objection was raised after Deputy Prosecutor-General Herman January asked the witness when and under what circumstances he had first come to know about the idea that the Caprivi Region should secede from the rest of Namibia.

The witness answered that it was during Namibia's 1989 elections.

At that stage the then DTA leader, Mishake Muyongo, was expounding the idea that the Caprivi Region should be an independent state; the idea was "like a song in his (Muyongo's) mouth", the witness told the court.

Muyongo, accused of having been the leader of a conspiracy to take up arms in order to fight for the separation of the Caprivi Region from Namibia, is now living in exile in Denmark.

He is by no means expected to be called to testify for the State.

It is in that fact that lay defence counsel Greyson Nyoni's objection against the witness's evidence about statements he claimed Muyongo had made back in 1989.

Nyoni argued that it was hearsay, and because Muyongo was not before court as an accused person it was also inadmissible evidence.

Judge Hoff upheld his objection on that score - but then went on to allow the evidence on other grounds.

An exception to the normal hearsay rule is where hearsay evidence is presented in order to provide a full picture of a case and where it is intended to prove the state of mind of a witness - provided that it is not presented as proof of the truth of the statement that was made.

It is on the basis of these exceptions that the tenth witness will be allowed to continue giving hearsay testimony to the court, Judge Hoff ruled.


    Support Caprivi Freedom
Fill out the form below to become a member of this site and receive our regular newsletter.

First Name
Last Name