Treason convicts sentenced

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Windhoek

Judge Elton Hoff yesterday imposed various sentences on the 30 men convicted of high treason, nine counts of murder and 91 counts of attempted murder, 17 years after a botched attempt to secede the former Caprivi Region from Namibia.

Judge Hoff started his sentencing judgment by explaining the objectives of punishment and the various sentences to be imposed. He told a packed courtroom that the court must consider the blameworthiness of an accused and that various degrees of blameworthiness exist in the current situation – from people who were mere supporters of the secessionist idea to the ones actively promoting it and those who actively participated in executing the plan.
The judge said the accused fulfilled different roles in the attempt to secede Caprivi – now Zambezi Region – from Namibia.

While none of the accused showed any remorse for their actions, in which eight unarmed persons lost their lives, the court must impose a sentence tempered by a measure of mercy, the judge stated.

Judge Hoff said there is no justification for the crimes of high treason, murder and attempted murder committed by the accused. He said no attempt was made to engage the government in a public discourse about the situation in Caprivi. Instead the accused resorted to violence as a deliberate attempt preceding possible negotiations. Hoff said the act of high treason did not occur on the spur of the moment, but was planned for a considerable period.During this time, he said, the accused had many opportunities to refrain from their intentions, but instead adopted a “dogged determination to overthrow the government of Namibia”.

He said the leaders of the movement face the highest culpability of moral blameworthiness. These include former parliamentarian Geoffrey Kapuzo Mwilima, Sikunda John Samboma, Thadius Siyoka Ndala, Bennet Kacenze Mutuso and Alfred Tawana Matengu.

The judge sentenced them to 35 years imprisonment for high treason, 17 years of which is suspended for five years on condition they are not convicted of high treason during the period of suspension.

On murder they were sentenced to 30 years in prison, of which 12 years were suspended for five years on condition, and on attempted murder 10 years. It was ordered that the unsuspended periods on the murder and attempted murder counts run concurrently with the sentence on high treason, meaning they have to serve an effective 18 years.
Next were the attackers, or soldiers, whom Judge Hoff said are second on the scale of moral blameworthiness, as without them the attainment of the goals would remain just a mere illusion. They were identified as Aggrey Makendano, Moses Kayoka, Richard Misuha, Charles Mushakwa, Kingsley Mwiya Musheba, Osbert Likanyi, Rodwell Mwanabwe Sihela, Albert Mangilazi, Postrick Mwinga, John Panse Lubilo, Saviour Tutalife, Raphael Lifumbela and Chris Ntaba.

The judge sentenced them each to 35 years’ imprisonment for high treason, 20 years of which is conditonally suspended for five years. On murder they were sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment, of which 12 were conditionally suspended for five years, and on attempted murder, 10 years. It was ordered that the unsuspended periods on the murder and attempted murder counts run concurrently with the sentence on high treason, meaning they have to serve an effective 15 years.

The judge then dealt with the supporters of secession, without whose assistance the rebels could not have survived. They were identified as Bollen Mwilima, Charles Mainga, Mathews Sasele, Fabian Simiyasa, Kester Kabunga, Matheus Pangula, Richard Mundia, Martin Tubaundule. Included among them was Adour Mutalife Chika (an attacker, but included here because of his young age – 19 at time of his arrest.

The judge sentenced them to 30 years’ imprisonment for high treason, 20 of which were conditionally suspended for five years. On murder they were sentenced to 25 years imprisonment of which 15 years were conditonally suspended for five years, and on attempted murder eight years. The unsuspended periods on the murder and attempted murder counts will run concurrently with the sentence on high treason, thus they have to serve an effective 10 years.

Then it was the “tight-lipped ones”, in Judge Hoff’s own words, who knew about the planned attack, but kept quiet about it. Victor Masiye Matengu, Alfred Siyata and Bernard Maungolo Jojo – who was classified a supporter, but is included here due to his advanced age of 74 – made up this group.

They were sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment for high treason, 17 of which are conditonally suspended for five years. On murder they were sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment, of which 17 years were conditionally suspended for five years. On attempted murder they got eight years, of which five were suspended on the normal conditions. It was ordered that the unsuspended periods on the murder and attempted murder counts run concurrently with the sentence on high treason, meaning they have to serve an effective three years.

The three men that were convicted of contravening the Immigration Act Oscar Muyuka Puteho, George Kasanga, George Liseho were sentenced to six months, suspended wholly for a period of three years, on condition they are not convicted of contravening the Immigration Act during the period of suspension.

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