Mass acquittals in treason trial

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Windhoek

Joy and despair described the scene yesterday at the Windhoek High Court after 35 people accused of high treason were acquitted, while 30 were found guilty on the same charges.

Judge Elton Hoff handed down his verdicts yesterday after six days of reading out his televised judgment.
The 30 accused were convicted on charges of high treason, murder and attempted murder.

Before he announced his judgment however, the judge took some time to explain why the convictions do not constitute a duplication of charges against the accused.

He said that in his view a conviction of high treason does not automatically constitute a conviction of murder as the two acts do not entertain the same requirements.

As an example, the judge said, a person can commit high treason without committing a single act of violence while in the case of murder or attempted murder, violence is the overriding factor.

He however said that in the case of a charge of sedition or public unrest a conviction of high treason would constitute a duplication of conviction, if dealt with separately.

For those reasons, he said, he combined the charges of sedition and public unrest with that of high treason.
He further announced that he would before the finalisation of the trial deal with the state witnesses who were warned about their possible responsibility in the events of August 02, 1999.

The judge also had a word for the co-conspirators of the cessation attempt – that violence is always an integral part of any attempt to overthrow a government and they should have foreseen that their actions would have consequences.

The accused that were convicted of one count of high treason, nine counts of murder and 240 counts of attempted murder include Bollen Mwilima Mwilima, Alfred Lupalezi Siyata, Charles Nyambe Mainga and Mathews Muyandulwa Sasele.

Also found guilty were Benhard Maungolo Jojo, Victor Masiye Matengu, Alfred Tawana Matengu, Mathews Munali Pangula, Richard Simataa Mundia and former DTA MP Geoffrey Kapuzo Mwilima.

Others convicted were Sikunda John Samboma who allegedly was the commander of the Caprivi Liberation Army (CLA), the armed wing of the United Democratic Party of the exiled Mishake Muyongo, and Thadius Siyoka Ndala – purportedly Samboma’s second in command.

Adour Mutalife Chika, Kingsley Mwiya Musheba, Rodwell Sihela Mwanabwe, Kester Silemu Kambungu, Fabian Thomas Simiyasa and Albert Sakena Mangilazi are also among the convicted, and so are Osbert Mwenyi Likanyi, Richard Libano Misuha, Moses Chicho Kayoka and Bennet Kacenze Mutuso, who described himself as a commander in the CLA with the nickname ‘Spiderman’.

Charles Mafenyeho Mushakwa, Raphael Lyazwila Lifumbela, Aggrey Kayaba Makendano, Martin Siano Tabaundule, Chris Puisano Ntaba, Postrick Mowa Mwinga, Ndala Saviour Tatalife and John Panse Lubilo were convicted as well.

Three of the accused who were acquitted were however convicted on lesser charges of contravening the Immigration Act of Namibia by either illegally exiting or entering Namibia through ungazetted border posts. They are George Kasanga, Oscar Kashalula Muyuka Puteho and George Masialeti Liseho. Those acquitted were Leonard Mutonga Ntelamo, Kambende Victor Makando, Norman Christopher John Justus, Muketwa Eustace Sizuka, Gerson Luka Luka, Robert Lifasi Chelezo, Richard Limbo Mukawa, Eugene Milunga Ngalaule, Mwilima Gabriel Mwilima, Jimmy James Mtemwa Liswaniso, Mashazi Allen Sameja, Richwell Mbala Manyemo and Gabriel Nyambe Ntelamo.

More of the acquitted were Martin Sabo Chainda, Ignatius Nawa Twabushalila, Patrick Itwa Likando, Bernard Mucheka, Tiiso Ernest Manyando, John Samati Yalubbi, Oscar Nyambe Puteho, Francis Buitiko Pangala, Sylvester Lusiku Ngalaule, Austen Lemuha Ziezo, Andreas Puo Mulupa, Joseph Kamwi Kamwi, Herbert Mboozi Mutahane.

Also acquitted were Roster Mushe Lukato, Davis Chioma Mazyu, Brighton Simisho Lielezo, Rex Lumponjani Kapanga, Brandon Luyanda Luyanda and Frans Muhupolo.

After the judge postponed the matter to today for possible determination of dates for submissions on the verdicts to be delivered, there were handshakes and hugs all around as the acquitted accused gave the convicted ones moral support and congratulated each other.

The trial started out in August 2004 with 122 accused in a specially constituted court at the Grootfontein Prison. During the course of the trial 22 accused died, while 43 were discharged during a Rule 174 ruling in February 2013 and one on August 2012. Rodwell Kasika Mukendwa, who was discharged on August 10, 2012 has already instituted a claim for compensation from the State for his 13-year incarceration.

He is claiming N$36 million from the Namibian government for, among others, unlawful arrest and an undue delay in his trial contrary to the provisions of the Namibian Constitution.

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