13 August 2012

Namibia: Joy for Suspect Acquitted in Treason Trial

FAMILY REUNITED ... An overjoyed Rodwell Kasika Mukendwa , the former Accused 106 in the main Caprivi high treason trial, embracing his son, Duscan Kasika, after he was pronounced not guilty on Friday. Photo: Werner Menges

"IT'S like a dream."

Freshly acquitted on charges which could have resulted in him being sentenced to imprisonment for the rest of his life, former Caprivi treason trial accused Rodwell Kasika Mukendwa was beaming with joy and repeatedly shaking the hand of his lawyer, Victor Kachaka, as he made this remark on Friday. Mukendwa had just heard that he had been found not guilty of high treason and 277 other charges.

"I'm feeling very good today, because I'm going to meet my family, which I missed for a long time," Mukendwa said.After being separated from his family for the past 13 years, the first thing he wanted to do after his release was to get back home to see his wife and eight children.

"This is a day to remember in our life," said one of Mukendwa's sons, Duscan Kasika, after his arrival at the High Court at Windhoek Central Prison, where he had been called to fetch his father.

"We will never forget this day," Kasika said.

Mukendwa related that he was working as a foreman at Namib Mills at Katima Mulilo when he was arrested on August 26 1999. Since then, he has been kept in custody, and has seen his wife and children only under the strictly controlled conditions of prison visits.

"It was very bad. My family suffered a lot when I was here. They didn't finish their school because there was no money," he said.

He was 55 when he was arrested. He is now 68 years old.

While in prison he was angry, because he did not understand why he had been arrested, Mukendwa said. He is considering suing the State over his detention and prosecution, he said.

On Friday, though, his happiness over being acquitted and released took the place of the anger he has been feeling.

For Duscan Kasika, happiness about being reunited with his father was also the prime feeling.

He said he was angry because justice had been delayed in the treason trial. But, for his father at least, justice has now been done, said Kasika.

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