By Catherine Sasman
Secretary General of the Swapo Party, Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana, yesterday denied allegations by National Society of Human Rights (NSHR) Director, Phil ya Nangoloh.
The accusations were levelled against the party’s supporters over the weekend at Omuthiya.
The NSHR had deployed 12 human rights activists to monitor the situation in the town as two parties – the Swapo Party and the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) – both held political rallies there.
Ya Nangoloh, at a press briefing on Tuesday, showed the media some of the footage the organisation took as proof of what transpired at Omuthiya.
He said the Swapo Party supporters were generally provocative towards RDP supporters; that violence involving stone throwing was reported to the NSHR monitors; that the Swapo Party supporters set up two illegal roadblocks to stop the RDP convoy from reaching their destination where the rally was to take place, and that three times the Namibian Police had to stop Swapo Party supporters from getting too close to the RDP rally.
Ithana said, at a briefing with the Omuthiya Council on her arrival at the town, she was told that Swapo Party members had to intervene to “bring Ya Nangoloh to order”.
According to Ithana, the NSHR director had gone to the Swapo Party rally before the meeting commenced and was “really provocative” with people becoming “agitated”.
She said Ya Nangoloh was filming during that time.
However, said Ithana, after the briefing she did not see anything out of the ordinary, except people singing and chanting slogans.
She also denied any knowledge of Swapo Party supporters setting up illegal roadblocks to prevent RDP supporters from entering Omuthiya.
Ya Nangoloh also condemned the presence of Government vehicles at the Swapo Party rally, two of which purportedly belonging to the Deputy Ministers Uutoni Nujoma and Peter Ilonga.
Ithana said ministers use Government vehicles assigned to them as entitlement.
“Is he [Ya Nangoloh] now the spokesperson of the Police? What role is he playing?” asked Ithana when approached for comment. “If he wants to join the political fray then let him say so.”
Added Ithana: “Ya Nangoloh is trying to create havoc in the country. He is an agent provocateur who wants to instigate violence. He wants to see Namibians at each other’s throats. We won’t allow that. It is not in our culture to intimidate people who are peacefully gathering.”
RDP spokesperson, Nora Appolus, however, said that her party confirmed all allegations made by Ya Nangoloh.
She said that RDP members have seen RDP T-shirts being dragged through the mud.
She also said that 60-year-old Pricilla Kambonde confirmed to interim RDP president, Hidipo Hamutenya, that someone hit her on the back with a stone when she alighted from a RDP vehicle on Saturday evening after the party’s rally.
Another allegation that was confirmed, said Appolus, was that there was an attempt to “disrupt” RDP cars driving from Ondangwa and then also in Omuthiya.
“We are still compiling a report and getting witnesses,” said Appolus.
Acting Regional Commander of the Oshikoto Region, Chief Inspector William Peter, said although police details from his office were at Omuthiya, no reports of violence were made.
“No case is recorded, everything went peacefully,” Peter said.
He however said the Oshikoto Regional Police jurisdiction does not stretch to inner Omuthiya town, which is run by the Oshana regional office.
New Era was unable to get comment from the Oshana regional office.