Windhoek-It is a little difficult to grasp the magnitude of ambition engraved in the mind of a young chap who is making great strides within the legal fraternity. At 27, one wonders what was Kadhila Amoomo’s journey from childhood to becoming one of Namibia’s most sought-after young lawyers today. Amoomo can describe himself as a lawyer as well as a social activist and employer – and at one point he was also the board member of the beleaguered state-owned rail company TransNamib.
He makes one thing clear though: he does not want to be showered with pity and be labelled as someone who escaped poverty to become a respected lawyer. “I will never paint my background as poverty stricken because I had supportive siblings and friends,” he says.
Amoomo, who is happy to announce that he is a proud father of two, speaks of his realisation that opening a law firm comes with more responsibilities and higher expectations. “What drives me every day when I wake up is the desire to improve the work that I am doing – I want to become a better lawyer so that one day I can be Chief Justice Kadhila Amoomo,” he says.
Currently his firm has eight staff members – three legal practitioners, two candidate legal practitioners and three support staff.
Although most would think he has it all, the grounded and focused Amoomo believes that he still has more to do in order to serve his country in anyway possible. “I don’t think I am there yet, these are baby steps that I am taking every day,” narrated Amoomo.
Always modest about the cases that he has taken on thus far, Amoomo says that the cases that involved him representing young people and their causes are very dear to his heart.
“My legal career has been linked to legal activities which involve assisting many activists in court and that remains the highlight as it shows that I have contributed to the cause and fight of young people, whether it’s them accessing education, housing, or justice,” he explained.
For him the most significant case he has done thus far was the 7de Laan, Otjomuise matter, where he had to represent 16 homeowners whose homes were demolished by City of Windhoek police officials on March 28, 2017.
Although having lost the case, he says “at the end of the day that is why we are here to assist the disenfranchised, the poor and marginalised.”
On his affiliation to the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) movement, Amoomo has this to say: “It is public knowledge that these are young people who I have, and continue, to assist. They are fighting for what all young people want in this country. We all want better housing, in fact, I have siblings and neighbours who cannot afford to buy land. Remember that I come from a poverty-stricken township in Namibia, Katutura.”
Sheer determination, prioritization, focus and family support of his parents and his 18 siblings are some of the reasons why, Amoomo says, he is who he is today.
“For those that are growing up in poverty-stricken areas, the choice does lie with you. I know and have seen that there can be difficult circumstances but it does not mean you will never reach the highs that you want to achieve in your life,” he noted.
Born in January 1990 in the northern region in an unknown village of Ombwa ya Netuntu in the vicinity of Okaku, Oshana Region, Amoomo has reached heights that most people his age group either dream of, or wish to accomplish.
Although born in the north, Amoomo moved to Windhoek at the age of six and started with his primary schooling at Mandume Primary School. “I grew up a naughty boy in Soweto location, Katutura, and there were some brushes with the law here and there. But the urge to study law grew in me at the age of 16,” says a relaxed Amoomo at his offices this week in Alder Street in Windhoek West.
The young lawyer recalls that he was initially included to study a science course degree at university, a choice that was made tempting by the many scholarship opportunities that were available to students who wished to study science courses. However, after passing with flying colours at Jan Jonker Afrikaner Senior Secondary School, Amoomo resisted the urges and went to study law.
He remembers what a hard decision it was for him to decline the lucrative financial offers, in the form of bursaries, to do science courses, opting instead to study law. He vividly recalls turning down bursary offers for medicine, pharmacist degree courses, French literature, and IT, among other offers he received in 2008. He was then steadfast in his quest to pursue law.
His brief brush with the law in his teens is what motivated him to go into law. Also, growing up in an environment where his peers turned to a life of crime, drugs and alcohol, Amoomo was adamant that such was not to be his future. “I have grown up seeing injustice meted out to people and because they do not have money that means that’s the end of the road for them,” noted Amoomo.
At the University of Namibia (Unam), Amoomo threw himself into legal studies. In his second year he clinched a job as a clerk at the Directorate of Legal Aid, in the Ministry of Justice.
“Now, when I got the job there I had to juggle being an employee and a student at the same time, but it was not merely because I was poor or in need but because I wanted to be exposed and to learn more about the legal environment,” he says of his years as a legal clerk.
He obtained his Baccalaureus Juris (BJuris) in 2010 and was subsequently appointed as a legal aid counsel. “I started appearing on behalf of people in legal matters at an early age of 20,” said Amoomo. After completing his one-year with legal aid as a counsel, he finally got his first big case, through the chance to accompany his senior legal colleagues to the High Court before Judge Naomi Shivute.
He eventually left the Directorate of Legal Aid to join the Ministry of Defence as an assistant legal advisor, while at the same time pursuing the Bachelor of Laws degree (LLB) (Honours) at Unam.
“During my time there I was employed in the capacity of assistant defence legal advisor, acting under Brigadier General Veikko Kavungo, who I regard as my mentor in many ways. I spent about two to three years with him,” narrated Amoomo.
He then went on to do internship at law firm Sisa Namandje & Co.
“I left when I was 24 and was admitted in August 2014 and after that I worked again, one year, for the company after being there for two years already. After that I decided to open my own law firm in March 2016,” said Amoomo.
In a motivated tone, Amoomo reiterated that young people need to look up to correct role models especially, models that young people perceive as boring and nerds, yet those are the correct role models.
“Your life journey should not be compromised by wanting a fancy lifestyle in the location because normally it is not a good thing. If a child has good role models then all fall in place, as they will be motivated and inspired by that role model,” said Amoomo.