Lawyer Castigates Cops for Pastor’s Arrest

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By William Mbangula

OSHAKATI

A lawyer representing Pastor Gerhard Kgobetsi of the Christian Fellowship Church who was arrested for accommodating minors against the will of their parents, has accused the police of unprofessional conduct.

Frieda Kishi of Kishi Legal Practitioners at Ondangwa has written a letter to Inspector-General Sebastian Ndeitunge of the Namibian Police complaining about what she described as unlawful detention and malicious prosecution of her client.

Kishi demanded the immediate withdrawal of the charges against her client and threatened to take civil action against the police for unlawful detention and defamation of character. The case, in her view, lacks merit since no sufficient evidence or a prima facie case could be established upon which the suspect could be charged or detained.

“I wish to place on record that the matter was dealt with in the utmost degree of bias and injustice. The regional commander was from the outset involved, which is a rare occurrence,” Kishi stated.

“Our client was denied the right to be visited by his family and friends, and I as his attorney had to engage in a lengthy debate with the Regional Commander in order to be allowed to consult with my client,” she said.

The lawyer further condemned the behaviour of the police with regard to treatment of her client, saying it could be condoned in a free Namibia where the constitution protects and advocates against abuse of human rights.

In her view, such behaviour on the part of the police should be condemned.

She suggested that the police be exposed to further training in order to know how to uphold the right and obligations enshrined in the constitution.
Regarding the house where the children were accommodated, she explained that it is a non-profit organization registered with the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Last Friday, Pastor Kgobetsi, 25, in the company of his assistant Nelson Haihambo, 19, a Grade 12 learner, was summoned to the office of the Regional Police Commander Deputy Commissioner Ndahangwapo Kashihakumwa to be cautioned about his conduct following complaints from parents of children he kept at his house No. 4101 at Ongwediva. The meeting was attended by aggrieved parents, among them Diina Hilundwa, Abner Gaa Silas, Elago Festus, as well as Reverend Joseph Avia of the Elcin Church and media representatives. The pastor was cautioned to release the children by 16h00 last Friday, or else the police would act against him.

Kashihakumwa told Kgobetsi: “I have nothing against you or your church, but what I can tell you is that you have no power or right to accept and accommodate kids under 18 in your place, against the laws of the land. You are therefore urged to use the same influence that brought the children to your house to again send them back where they came from.

Apparently the pastor defied the police order and during the weekend he was even involved in a verbal confrontation with the police when his house was inspected to find out whether he had complied with the order. As a result, Kgobetsi was arrested last Saturday, only to be released again on Monday when he appeared in court. His case was postponed to September 26 for further investigations.

Approached for comment about Kishi’s letter (which was copied) to the investigating officer, a certain Sergeant Anyala, Kashihakumwa said he had not seen the letter and that it would not be appropriate for him to comment on something he had not seen.

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