The 30 men convicted of treason relating to the armed secessionist attacks on Katima Mulilo in August 1999 were untruthful about their involvement, the State argued on Wednesday as pre-judgment arguments were presented by both the defence and the State.
“They were all boastful about their involvement in the attacks at Katima Mulilo in which innocent people lost their lives as a result of their secessionist actions,” said Deputy Prosecutor General Taswald July, who is leading the State’s case in its closing arguments.
“These convicts attempted to paint all state witnesses as liars. They each had full knowledge of the attacks and had provided transport and food to the rebels prior to the attacks,” July told the High Court in Windhoek.
The State commenced the arguments on the sentences to be imposed on the convicted men.
State-sponsored defence lawyers Patrick Kauta, George Neves, Clive Kavendjii, Profysen Muluti, Ilse Agenbach, Jonathan Samukange, Victor Kachaka, Percy McNally and Hennie Kruger will address the court in respect of the sentences to be imposed on each of their convicted clients.
On September 14, the 30 men were found guilty on charges of high treason, murder and attempted murder in connection with the separatist attacks on government-owned installations at Katima Mulilo on that fateful day of August 2, 1999.
Defence counsel Samukange said his clients should be released with immediate effect, because the years they have spent in prison are more than three times “the time they have to serve”.
McNally argued that for treason, sentences of three years to 20 years would be appropriate, while a sentence on one count of murder and one of attempted murder would be sufficient for all convictions to address the cumulative nature.
Judge Hoff had earlier acquitted 35 other men after the State failed to prove their involvement beyond a reasonable doubt in the failed plot to secede the said Caprivi from Namibia.
The 30 convicted men each face 278 charges, including a count of high treason, nine charges of murder and 240 counts of attempted murder in connection with the failed secession attempts.
The treason accused have been in custody for the past 16 years and the long-running trial has clearly taken a heavy toll on them, with 22 having died while awaiting trial. They were separately charged and convicted of taking part in the attacks, or providing support to the vanquished rebel outfit the Caprivi Liberation Army (CLA). The court found that they took part in the attacks on the Katima Mulilo Police Station, the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) regional office, the Wenela border post, as well as M’pacha military base and airport.
Renegade Namibian politician Mishake Muyongo and his cousin, the former Mafwe chief Boniface Mamili, are both exiled in Denmark after Namibia pressured Botswana to send them back to stand trial. Muyongo is said to have masterminded the failed secessionist plot.