By Staff Writer
Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) Secretary for Information and Mobilisation Charles Siyauya’s statement in January suggesting Sibbinda and Linyanti residents are pro-secessionist might result in him being taken to court for defamation.
Interestingly, the person seeking legal recourse for slander is another outspoken ruling Swapo Party member Felix Mukupi, the Councillor for Sibbinda Constituency who feels the firebrand youth league leader’s allegations against the Mafwe are tribally motivated.
Mukupi says the fact that alleged secessionist mastermind Mishake Muyongo is a Mafwe should not mean all his tribesmen agree with him as they played a pivotal role in the liberation struggle and like others, they are solely in sync with the ideals of a unitary state.
A few weeks ago, Siyauya precipitated a political storm when he accused the newly formed Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) of using “dirty” tactics that he had said endangered national security. He had urged state security agents to step up their manpower in Linyanti and Sibbinda constituencies on the grounds that RDP activities “are dirty and a danger to national security and political stability”.
But Mukupi says these utterances are without substance and only cause despondence among villagers who in recent weeks have flocked to his office to seek clarity, as they believe they are being defamed and continue being unfairly persecuted.
The role played by members of the Mafwe tribe during the liberation struggle cannot be over-emphasized and those casting doubt on this role are free to investigate, he said.
Mukupi said if Siyauya had contacted him as the ruling party’s mobiliser in Sibbinda, he would have received an objective briefing instead of depending on subjective hearsay from people with tribal agendas hell-bent on defaming the entire Mafwe tribe.
“It is regrettable and disgraceful to hear someone in Siyauya’s position, a leader of one of the wings of the ruling Swapo Party, making such unfounded and tribally-motivated allegations.
“In his new position, Siyauya was supposed to concentrate on mobilizing people to rally behind Swapo in the wake of so many mushrooming political parties in the country and informing and not misinforming them. Instead, he is using the position to advance his tribal agenda. That is regrettable,” said Mukupi.
“Surely, Siyauya should have limitations in that he has defamed our tribe and if he is not careful we are going to take him to court for slander because he cannot continue tarnishing the names of law-abiding citizens,” fumed the businessman-turned-politician.
Mukupi feels if Siyauya is privy to information regarding secessionist remnants, why doesn’t he come out openly and report such elements to the police who would carry out a thorough investigation because secessionism is a serious crime, instead of linking all members of the Mafwe tribe to a cause the majority of them do not even support.
“He Siyauya should not abuse his position to advance his tribe at the expense of others. Some of the people behind the tribal conflict in Caprivi are foreigners because I know indigenous Caprivians are very peaceful and law-abiding people,” charged Mukupi.
“They should be aware we are going to expose them,” warned the councillor.
He said tribalism in Caprivi has gotten to a stage whereby SPYL members from Sibbinda and Linyanti are being systematically excluded from SPYL meetings in Caprivi.
“We have been working very hard for the ruling party that is why Swapo won in Sibbinda, Kongola and Linyanti that are all Mafwe areas. It is very unfair for smaller boys to insult the entire tribe and they are not even ashamed or afraid,” he said.
He said the Government should take action against those people victimizing others on the basis of tribe and that he will soon make appointments so that he can meet the chiefs in Caprivi and talk about the people fomenting tribal hate that curtails development.
“Why are we fighting against each other?” he posed the question to all Caprivi residents.
On the alleged persecution of the Mafwe, he cited the prolonged suspension of the Chief Control Officer of the Hardap Region James Sankwasa who continues being on suspension. And though the suspension is now in its second year, no charges have been brought seemingly for lack of sufficient evidence.
This is in contravention of the Public Service Act that says if a person cannot be charged within fourteen days, such a public service employee should assume duty.
He cited another case where certain people were suspended such as in the gross negligence maize episode when officials left 18 000 bags of maize meal to rot in a warehouse that was meant for thousands of drought victims.
Mukupi said the people implicated in that saga, namely the then Regional Governor Bernard Sibalatani, the Chief Regional Officer Raymond Matiti and the Regional Director Robert Mapenzi were let off the hook after Government flexed its muscle.
The same political muscle could be flexed in the pending case against Sankwasa, he said.