Media Character Assassination against my Person and Office
I am thankful for the opportunity to herewith present my side of the story to the recent front page story in The Namibian, which was later followed by an article in Die Republikein, regarding my alleged unbecoming behaviour at the wedding of my sister under the heading of “Hurricane Katrina blows into town”.
It is usually not my style to reply to articles in the media, especially when baseless and senseless reporting ignores the basic ethics of journalism because it can only lead to further unnecessary polemic and mud-slinging, and it usually serves no useful purpose.
More so, when journalists, instead of reporting on worthy and valuable happenings all over the country, choose to lower the quality of their newspapers to nothing less than tabloids based on sensation and sensation only. The said articles were not reporting any factual events, but were hallowed opinions of the two writers based on their empty imaginations.
To cut a long story short, one of my sisters got married to a man who hails from family with whom our family have had close ties for many years within the context of the extended African family. Our family relations were that close, to the extent that my husband and I have been contributing materially to the upkeep of my sister’s new in-laws ever since I got my first employment.
That was long before my sister got entangled in a dating relationship that culminated in this wedding between our families. Thus, the two families were and are no strangers to each other, and we have enjoyed cordial and warm relations for many years before this wedding.
In addition, our two families are also closely bonded in the same denomination and we are on very good terms notwithstanding the seeds of division some of the printed media are trying to sow long after that wedding had been solemnized.
The crux of the matter is that my husband and I were closely involved in the marital logistics of my sister’s wedding, since she was using a combination of traditional and western cultures for her marriage. The traditional aspect requires families of both the groom and the bride to jointly host and entertain guests in the community hall. As such, we went, as part of a bigger family delegation, to my sister’s in-laws to work out the small details of the food preparation and subsequent reception.
I must admit here that during the discussions between the two families, there were usual heated moments, like in any two families arranging this sort of wedding, as to the volumes of food and drinks each household had to contribute towards the wedding reception. And this normally happens with all traditional Nama weddings, because each family also has individual guests visiting parental homes.
The Namibian’s Luqman Cloete and Die Republikein’s Jan Poolman got it all wrong, because there is even no plot in their story. As a matter of fact, contrary to the allegations, at no point was my behaviour unbecoming or unprofessional, no food was strewn around the banquet hall or family houses, at no point was my husband floored (pushed over) by anyone, except for two small side-plates that accidentally fell out of the hands of one of my sisters.
That was not intentional and we also offered to replace the entire dining set, should the family so require. A lot of glassware normally gets broken or gets lost during these types of celebrations. There was, however, no violent behaviour displayed by whosoever before, during or after my sister’s wedding.
I want to end this part of my version to say that my sister’s wedding went ahead in the jolly fellowship and spirit it was started notwithstanding few individuals who wanted to exaggerate the normal incident out of context.
It must be stated here that certain individuals attempted to tarnish my image, trying to score political gains out of a private family affair and even tried to involve the police. This act alone is a cause of suspicion that some individuals tried to hijack the wedding of my sister to kick up unnecessary dust, but their assertion of family disputes and unbecoming behaviour by the Governor of the Hardap Region are wild hallucinations of the worst kind.
Mr Luqman Cloete may dislike me for whatever personal reasons best known to him, and it is of no consequence to me. My only worry is that he hails from the Vaalgras area, having been raised by the late Osokob Basson and he is mostly seen in the presence of relatives of Mr Leonard Stephanus, one of the two staff members of the Hardap Regional Council who are currently on suspension.
Must I conclude that Mr Cloete’s tirade of verbal diarrhoea against me is a personal vendetta of second and third parties? His article was completely without factual merit, entirely based on hearsay by persons who were not directly involved in the organization of the wedding of my sister.
Even a blind person can “read” between the lines that both articles smack of character assassination, aimed at tarnishing my image and that of the SWAPO Party in the Hardap Region.
With regard to Mr Jan Poolman, it is no secret that literate Namibians can no longer be fooled how he tirelessly tries to twist any situation to portray me in bad light. Seemingly, his fulltime assignment at Die Republikein involves exploring new ways how to best belittle me, to portray me as a power hungry and violent person – in a nutshell, to end my political career!
Yet I still remain the person my mum reared me according to the best of Christian upbringing. It is needless to say that Mr Poolman continues to fail to understand the suspension of Mr Sankwasa as an administrative decision of the Hardap Regional Council and the Council resolution on this matter is an open secret.
Against this background, the regular readers of Die Republikein are by now fully aware of his ill-founded ploy to sow seeds of division in the Mariental Rural Constituency and Hardap Regional Council.
It is my firm conviction that Die Republikein’s wrath against me was born the day SWAPO captured the Mariental Rural Constituency with my campaign in 2005. This constituency was viewed as a traditional DTA-RP stronghold, but my husband and I, together with other loyal comrades, worked relentlessly, even appropriating our personal and family funds to take the SWAPO Election Manifesto and my campaign to the doorstep of every farm and farmer in this constituency.
The SWAPO Party worked on the mindset of the white commercial farmers in this area long before I got the nomination, but I thank God for the personal touch between myself and my voters, whereby the winning of their hearts and souls is a sin for which Die Republikein, Republican Party and their cohorts can never forgive me.
Be that as it may, I remain innocent and my conscience is clean of all the allegations charged against me and continue to remain positive in the positions the voters and the SWAPO Party have entrusted to my care.
I shall continue to work without fear or favour, to implement Vision 2030 and now NDP III in my constituency and the Hardap Region within the budgetary means allocated to me by the SWAPO Party government.
It is needless to say that The Namibian and Die Republikein had failed miserably over the past three years to negate my work, because I recently got re-elected as Governor of the Hardap Region for the second leg of my tenure of office.
I am thankful to God and the SWAPO Party for the confidence they have in me, for entrusting this esteemed office to me and pray that I shall be faithful to the people and the ruling party in the execution of my duties.
In conclusion, I want to extend to one and all a happy holiday season and a prosperous New Year, 2008. May Namibia continue to enjoy peace and happiness during the festive season and years to come.
Katrina M. Hanse-Himarwa
Councillor of Mariental Rural Constituency
Governor – Hardap Region