By Anna Shilongo
Namibian police spokesperson Chief Inspector Angula Amulungu last week expressed concern over a press release issued by the Director of the National Society for Human Rights, (NSHR) Phil ya Nangoloh earlier last month.
In the statement, the human rights chief alleged that the station commander of Omuthiya police station refused to allow an alleged assault victim to lay a criminal charge against his assailant in what is believed to be a politically motivated attack.
The alleged political violence between a ruling Swapo Party member and an RDP member occurred at the town on March 11 2008 at about 21h00.
According to the NSHR report, a certain Swapo Party member Timo assaulted Frans Chakolana Mateus (37) and an RDP functionary on the head with a stick.
During the alleged attack, the victim suffered serious permanent injuries on the right ear.
The victim was apparently hit at a shebeen while he was sleeping on a bench.
According to the NSHR, Timo is a Swapo Party activist at the town of Omuthiya.
Mateus apparently confirmed to the NSHR that he was assaulted merely because he was an RDP supporter and that he was wearing an RDP T-shirt at the time of the incident.
He also claimed that the suspect had threatened to stab him with a knife.
As a result, the victim apparently went to the Omuthiya police station where he was prevented from laying a criminal charge against Timo.
Mateus claimed the station commander declined to accept his charge as well as denying him a J88 form, which he needed to undergo medical examination.
“The station commander also told Matheus he is an Angolan and as such, he has no right to lay a charge against a Namibian,” ya Nangoloh had claimed in a press statement.
With the intervention of the NSHR, the victim was apparently allowed to lay a charge.
In response to the accusations, the police spokesperson shot down the allegation that the victim was denied access to laying a charge on the said case of assault.
Amulungu said the police never denied the victim his constitutional rights. He said thorough investigations were carried out and concerned members were interviewed.
The station commander also denied all allegations against him, adding that there was no truth in the report that was issued by the human rights chief.
He noted that he saw Mateus at the station but he never spoke to him.
The station commander further stated that officers reported to him that Mateus wanted to be issued with a J88 and that he never wanted to lay a charge as stated, but he directed the officers on duty to write entries in the occurrence book about the incident.
On March 14, the victim apparently returned the complete J88 form and still didn’t want to lay a charge, but on March 15th he came back to the station and a criminal charge of assault was recorded.
“Matheus stated that he was assaulted but didn’t want to lay a criminal charge, he only wanted to be issued a J88 form so that he could receive treatment at the hospital.
“After he was convinced by a friend to open a case he went and registered the case,” stated the police in a report issued last week.
Amulungu said the victim also stated that he was never denied the right to lay a charge but it was his own decision not to lay a charge initially.
He further stated that there was not enough evidence to support the allegations as Mateus himself stated that he didn’t want to lay a criminal charge.
At the same time, the Inspector General of the Namibian Police, Sebastian Ndeitunga, also registered concern over another press release by the NSHR in which ya Nangoloh apparently alluded that Nampol officers nabbed at least eight prominent Swapo Party politicians and business people that were found in possession of weapons of war.
“Police actions in respect of the seizure of automatic rifles in the three regions, namely, Oshana, Ohangwena and Omusati was a planned action aimed at ridding the nation of the undesired weapons in the hands of individuals, business premises and was never targeting members of a given political party nor individuals because of their political allegiance,” said Ndeitunga.
He said linkage to the Ndonga palace firearms that were confiscated had no relevance to police actions, because the King had already notified the police of the existence of such firearms as far back as 1998 when the Government called for re-registration of firearms.
“Therefore, the inferences made in your March 06 press release could not be entertained. Thus we expect the NSHR to see it fit to apologise to the nation on the misrepresentation of events it created in the minds from its press release,” he said.
The police also urged ya Nangoloh to direct his monitors countrywide to verify facts before transmitting them to Windhoek.
” That in turn will prevent embarrassment to the NSHR, because of inaccurate reporting emanating from its monitors,” said Ndeitunga.
The inspector general also made it clear that the Namibian police force is apolitical and there is no room for its actions to be associated with any political party.
” We find it inappropriate to be patted on our backs for arresting people who were found in possession of assault rifles by the NSHR,” he added.
He said the police distance themselves from this and would not want to be construed as either being biased or favouring any political party while doing their work.