By: Josia Shigwedha
The Namibian Police Inspector-General, Joseph Shikongo, has denied claims that they are responsible for the continued detention of activist and Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters’ (NEFF) Commissar, Michael Amushelelo. NEFF has, on several occasions, stated that Amushelelo’s arrest and refusal to be granted bail are politically motivated.
Shikongo also explained that the car accident he was involved in, which resulted in the deaths of three people in December, has nothing to do with the arrest and subsequent detention of Amushelelo.
Shikongo made these remarks at a training workshop for Namibian Police Officers on freedom of expression and the safety of journalists in Windhoek on Monday.
Amushelelo has been remanded in custody since March this year after being arrested alongside Dimbulukeni Nauyoma and Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) member of parliament, Inna Hengari, for organising a nationwide protest against youth unemployment.
“People are saying that we are denying Amushelelo bail because of 21 March (protest) that is not the case. Amushelelo's continued detention is not based on the police, it is on the basis that it is before the court. The others, Nauyoma and a member of parliament were given bail. I think people should not mix up things. We have seen Amushelelo speaking louder after my accident, it has been there. But I think his continued detention has nothing to do with my accident. As I said, there was a case before the court of law. I took him to court on a civil matter, not even a criminal matter. I even spent my own money to go and pay a lawyer so that we meet at the court because the defamation he made was serious,” remarked Shikongo.
Responding to Shikongo’s remarks, NEFF’s deputy leader, Kalimbo Iipumbu, maintained that Amushelelo’s arrest is politically motivated.
Iipumbu added that his fellow party member's detention of over five months has only fired up the interest of the young people on the issue.
"His arrest is politically motivated, and that is open to every Namibian now that his detention is apparently that when he is released he will continue to advocate with the demonstration he was busy with," said Iipumbu.
Amushelelo, Nauyoma, and Hengari are charged with counts of public violence, incitement to public violence, and malicious damage to property. Hengari and Nauyoma were released on bail, while Amushelelo is set to appeal to the Supreme Court after his bail appeal in the Windhoek High Court was dismissed last month.