After close analysis of various State witness accounts and the testimony of defense witnesses, as well as the evidence of accused former parliamentarian Kapuzo Geoffrey Mwilima, Judge Elton Hoff found that the prosecution met the requirement of proof on all charges against him.
According to Judge Hoff the evidence established an overt act with hostile intent and that Mwilima had prior knowledge of an imminent attack on Katima Mulilo, but failed to inform the authorities as was his duty, especially as a former member of the country’s highest lawmaking body.
Mwilima was an integral part of the now-defunct United Democratic Party (UDP), whose sole aim was to destabilise the Caprivi Strip for the purpose of seceding it forcefully from the rest of Namibia, the judge said yesterday.
While several State witnesses who testified against Mwilima contradicted themselves to some extent, they all corroborated the fact that Mwilima was “tireless in his efforts to convince people to join the Caprivi Liberation Army (CLA) and go to Botswana to receive military training”, the judge found.
According to Judge Hoff, the State produced enough evidence to convince him that Mwilima organised various subversive meetings, which he addressed together with exiled Mishake Muyongo, where the issue of secession and the formation of a secessionist army was discussed.
Many of the witnesses who testified against Mwilima identified him in court. His explanation that he was a public figure and thus well-known did not hold water, the judge said, as he was identified by people who attended those meetings.
In two instances two elderly gentlemen who testified about meetings Mwilima held in the former Caprivi Region – now Zambezi – failed to identify him, but that was because of their poor eyesight and the fact that he partly covered his face with his hand, the judge remarked.
Further evidence against him came from a document titled: ‘The Aims and Objectives of the CLA’, found in his house during a search by the police. The judge said this was a clear indication the UDP was not inactive, as was claimed.
Mwilima’s defense of total denial of all incriminating evidence against him was negated by the numerous times he contradicted himself when he testified, the judge said, and continued that Mwilima was an untruthful witness who feigned ignorance on the issue of the secession of Caprivi.
“In fact, the issue of secession was on the lips of everybody in the Caprivi, except those of the accused,” Judge Hoff stated.
In conclusion he said, the only reasonable inference that can be drawn is that Mwilima was actively promoting the secession of the former Caprivi through the revival of the UDP, the party responsible for the attacks on Katima Mulilo.
As for the other six judgments the judge dealt with yesterday he found that the State succeeded in proving the guilt of four of the accused, including Mwilima.
In the case of Jimmy James Matemwa Liswaniso, the judge found he could not rely on the evidence of any of the State witnesses, as they were tainted with police instructions. While the accused was identified in court, the judge noted it was common knowledge that the police had photographs with the names of the accused, which were shown to the witnesses before they testified.
However, former police officer Matheus Munali Pangula was not so fortunate. He was positively identified by several witnesses as one of the people that donated money to the secessionist cause and provided transport. Pangula also made a confession when he was arrested, but later claimed he made the confession to avoid further police beatings.
Judge Hoff, however, declared the confession admissible in a trial-within-a-trial.
Hoff said a missing R-5 rifle that was found with CLA commander John Samboma was signed out by Pangula. He concluded that the version of the accused could not reasonably or possibly be true and should therefore be rejected.
The judge said he was satisfied Pangula had hostile intentions and is guilty of the charges brought against him.
In the case of George Kasanga, who was allegedly the witchdoctor that gave the attackers “medicine to make them invincible”, the judge found there was no evidence that he had hostile intent when he left for Botswana, and did not form any hostile intent when he was there. The judge said he is not satisfied the State proved any overt act and or hostile intention, and the only thing Kasanga is guilty of is that he left Namibia by an ungazetted point of entry, as by his own admission.
It was found that Richard Simaata Mundia, who was employed as a senior driver in the Ministry of Education at Katima Mulilo, must have at least known about the attempted secession and failed to inform the authorities. He was allegedly the person who went to the government garage with a government order book to acquire six 210-litre drums of diesel.
Mashazi Allen Sameja was cleared of all charges against him, as the judge found his evidence was not of poor quality and must be regarded as reasonable and possibly true, but for Chika Adour Mutalife it was not such a rosy outcome.
Judge Hoff found that Mutalife participated actively in the conspiracy with hostile intent to secede Caprivi.
The protracted judgment continues today.