The Namibian (Windhoek)

16 January 2013

Namibia: Deputy Minister's 'Tribal Tirade' Investigated By Police

TWO high-ranking police officers have arrived in Keetmanshoop to investigate alleged tribalist remarks made against police officers by Mines and Energy Deputy Minister Willem Isaack at Berseba on New Year's Day.

The Namibian was reliably informed that the police commander in the Caprivi Region, Rudolf Kanyetu, and Chief Inspector Sam Mbinge from the Oshana Region were assigned to investigate the incident, and would leave for Berseba today to question witnesses.

It is alleged that Isaack ranted at some police officers by referring to what he believed to be their tribal origin and said that he did not care about the " Swapo Ovambo government".

The deputy minister allegedly also questioned the presence in the South of "Ovambos", who were supposed to be in "Ovamboland", and said he did not mind being fired from his ministerial position, adding he was sick and tired of the "Swapo Ovambo government".

The alleged incident, earlier confirmed by the police but denied by the politician, happened during a meeting of the so-called Goliath Traditional Authority, a splinter group of the recently recognised /Hai/Khaua Traditional Authority.

The police were invited by the splinter group to provide protection at the meeting that was was described as an "eat-together" to sidestep a High Court order obtained by a rival group.

The High Court order was granted to forbid the splinter group from installing their designated chief, Johannes Fleermuis, within the jurisdiction of the /Hai-/Khaua area of which Johannes Isaak is the tribal leader.

If the allegations against Isaacks are found to be true, he may face a criminal charge, either under the Racial Discrimination Act or one of crimen injuria.

The Namibian understands that Isaack is expected to meet with President Hifikepunye Pohamba today to give his version of the incident.

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