Windhoek – A woman from northern Namibia was ordered on Monday by High Court Judge Maphios Cheda to pay damages in the amount of N$80,000 to a police officer after she called him a ‘witch’.
Judge Cheda said that looking at the evidence presented, Joolokeni Peneyambeko Nakale uttered defamatory statements and used a swear word against traffic officer David Kashululu.
The matter arose from an incident on October 15, 2013 at about 11h30 when Nakale overtook an Iveco bus on a prohibited line. She was hailed down by Kashululu who warned her of her dangerous conduct and asked for her driver’s licence, which she handed to him. When he indicated he was going to write her a ticket she did not take kindly to it and drove off in the direction of Ondobe.
He followed her and on the way received a phone call from his regional commander to the effect that Nakale’s driver’s licence had been confiscated and he was ordered to Ondobe Police Station where he found Nakale.
While he was busy completing the ticket at Ondobe she refused to furnish him with certain information and insisted that he produce the driver of the Iveco bus, and an altercation took place between them in the charge office in the presence of other police officers. Nakale later laid criminal charges against him and he was charged with the allegations, but the prosecutor general declined to prosecute. Kashululu further claimed that his name was withdrawn from the promotion consideration list because of the allegations, which in his view were false and intended to injure and tarnish his good name. He had initially demanded N$100,000 for being defamed.
Nakale denied the allegations and said it was Kashululu who called her a witch and that he pointed a finger at her in threatening manner and also assaulted her with his keys on her left eye that resulted in her being treated at the Oshakati State Hospital and needing glasses.
Judge Cheda however rejected her evidence as false beyond a reasonable doubt as she could not produce any evidence of the hospital treatment or the need for glasses, and for the fact that the witnesses testified that she was indeed the one who instigated the fracas. According to him, the evidence showed that Nakale became uncooperative and rowdy. He said the behavior of Nakale on the day in question left a lot to be desired.
“I find that defendant was not truthful in her testimony as to what happened. This contradiction is so glaring that it goes towards her credibility. It can only lead to the conclusion that she is trying to manufacture her evidence, but forgot to narrate the correct sequence of events,” the judge remarked.
He said that in determining the damages suffered by Kashululu, the plaintiff’s standing in society, the consequences of the publication and whether or not an apology has been made by the defendant must be taken into account.
According to the judge, Kashululu is a police officer, a man of good standing whose reputation sticks out like a sore thumb and it is injurious for him to be referred to as a witch, therefore Nakale must clean his name.