Former deputy prosecutor-general Taswald July took the stand yesterday in the Windhoek High Court to give his account of what transpired during the Caprivi high treason trial, following a N$36 million lawsuit against the state.
July, who now works in the private sector, said there was substantial evidence against 76-year-old Rodwell Kasika Mukendwa, who is suing the Minister of Safety and Security, the Prosecutor-General and the government for damages.
In his suit, Mukendwa alleges malicious prosecution and wrongful, unlawful and negligent violation or infringement of his constitutional rights, after he was acquitted on charges of high treason in August 2012.
July recalled that witnesses who took the stand during the trial incriminated Mukendwa in the atrocities that occurred between 1998 and 2003 in the then Caprivi Region aimed at seceding the region – now called Zambezi – from the rest of Namibia.
“Based on Cristopher Siboli’s statement, the plaintiff attended secret meetings held at Mishake Muyongo’s house in 1998 with an intent to discuss the illegal secession of the Caprivi Strip,” July told the court.
Exiled former Swapo and DTA politician Muyongo is widely regarded as the brains behind the botched liberation of the Caprivi Strip from the rest of Namibia. He is believed to currently live in Denmark, after escaping the long arms of Namibian law enforcement agents following the attack that left several people dead.
Mukendwa further attended public meetings to mobilise people to join in on the succession idea and voluntarily gave his vehicle to be used in the transportation of military weapons, recalled the former deputy PG.
More than 30 vehicles were involved in the transportation of military weapons and members of the succession group to Botswana for military training.
“Mukendwa had intimate details about the succession but failed to alert the police,” further stated July.
In his lawsuit claim, Mukendwa wants to be compensated for loss of income, pain and suffering. Mukendwa is claiming N$700 000 for his pension loss, N$340 000 for loss of income due to his continued incarceration and N$11.9 million loss of income from his farming activities.
Further claims involve an amount of N$23.6 million for humiliation and degradation, injury to his self-esteem and reputation, contumelia (rough treatment), deprivation of his freedom (including freedom of movement), discomfort and inconvenience suffered. The total claims are to the tune of N$36, 6 million
July denies any malicious prosecution and suffering, stating that the trial took a lengthy period to be finalised as the situation at the time was volatile. About 900 statements were obtained and 369 witnesses took the stand but over time witnesses started changing their statements and becoming hostile, some died while others simply disappeared and as a result appointed councils started withdrawing from the case, causing a setback, testified July.
Mukendwa’s lawsuit is led by the legal team from Andrew Corbett SC with Sisa Namandje and Ismael Semenja representing the respondents.