23 November 2012

Namibia: SPYL?s Amupanda Threatens Journalist

THE leadership of the Swapo Party Youth League threatened to kick out the editor of the Windhoek Observer, Kuvee Kangueehi, from its media conference at the Swapo Party headquarters in Windhoek yesterday.

An argument started between Kangueehi and Job Amupanda, the youth wing’s spokesperson, after SPYL secretary Elijah Ngurare had charged that some newspapers “spice up” news reports to suit their agendas.

Ngurare singled out Kangueehi and and reporter Diana Ndimbira for “spicing up stories”.

Ngurare charged that the youth wing had been called “all sorts of names” in newspaper articles.

Kangueehi said instead of singling out his newspaper, the youth leaders should address the issues for which the press conference was called.

Before Ngurare had finished talking Amupanda stepped in and threatened to throw Kangueehi out if he did not stop arguing.

Amupanda’s spat with Kangueehi was reminiscent of an incident two years ago in which the now expelled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema threw a BBC journalist out of a press conference, calling him “a bastard” and “a bloody agent”. Malema later apologised for his actions.

Amupanda told Kangueehi: “I said earlier that we will take charge, Comrade. This is our event. We won’t accept disorder.”

Sitting in the back row, Kangueehi responded by telling Amupanda to address the press conference instead of criticising the Observer’s reporting.

Amupanda then gave the journalist an ultimatum to keep quiet or risk being chased out of the media briefing. He then called on his fellow SPYL leaders to throw Kangueehi out if he continued with his comments.

Approached for comment, Amupanda accused the Windhoek Observer of campaigning for Swapo vice president Hage Geingob to be re-elected at next week’s party congress.

Amupanda later calmed down, saying: “It’s only that he is a comrade, we won’t chase him out.”

Commenting after the incident, Kangueehi said media briefings are for addressing issues and not to “ridicule and embarrass journalists”.

According to him, the youth wing can follow various procedures to express unhappiness with articles in his paper instead of doing so publicly at a press conference.

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