21 January 2019

Namibia: Nauyoma Faces Three Charges

ACTIVIST Dimbulukeni Nauyoma is expected to appear in the Windhoek Magistrate's Court today following his arrest for alleged obstruction of justice on Friday.

Nauyoma allegedly stopped Windhoek City Police officers from demolishing a shack belonging to Wilhemina Shipingana in Okuryangava.

Windhoek City Police superintendent Gerry Shikesho told The Namibian yesterday that Nauyoma and other activists had tried to rebuild Shipingana's shack.

Shikesho said the officers arrested Affirmative Repositioning (AR) member Nauyoma, while the Namibian Police's deputy commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi yesterday said the activist sustained injuries when he was driven to the Wanaheda Police Station.

Kanguatjivi added that Nauyoma was taken to the Windhoek Central Hospital for medical attention, and then back to the police cells.

His lawyer Kadhila Amoomo later filed an urgent application, seeking an order to have Nauyoma brought before a magistrate for a bail application.

High Court judge Herman Oosthuizen, who heard the case close to midnight on Friday, ordered the inspector general of the Namibian Police, the Khomas police regional commander, and the commanding officer of the Wanaheda Police Station to hand Nauyoma over to a medical doctor so that he could be admitted to the Rhino Park Private Hospital for medical treatment.

Kanguatjivi said Nauyoma is facing three charges - instigating public violence, unlawful grabbing of municipal land and erecting an illegal structure, as well as obstructing police officers in the execution of their duty.

Meanwhile, human rights lawyer Norman Tjombe yesterday told The Namibian that the Squatters Proclamation of 1985 was challenged back in July 2013, and the court gave people facing the demolition of their alleged illegal homes the right to be heard, even if they are allegedly occupying the land illegally before they can be evicted.

"That law has been challenged, and it was declared unconstitutional. So, you can't do that anymore because the Constitution says you have the right for your case to be heard by court, and you have some form of defence; your side of the story will be heard," said Tjombe.

Both Shikesho and Kanguatjivi said the land belongs to the municipality and it was illegally occupied, and Shipingana knew that the shack would be removed by Friday.

Regarding the police not having a court order to dismantle the shack, Shikesho said court orders are not required in situations where a property is not occupied.

"In this particular case, there was no occupation. It was an illegal, unoccupied structure. We learned from the court [...] that if there is peaceful occupation in a structure, you cannot remove it. It can only be removed when you have a court order," Shikesho explained.

A good Samaritan has offered Shipingana and her two children temporary shelter in Wanaheda.

AR leader Job Amupanda, who visited Nauyoma in hospital on Saturday, said the latter had asked him to deliver the following message to AR activists and the poor:

"We must never give up the fight, young friends.

This struggle will grow and grow, and find its rightful people.

AR is all our people have, and if we get intimidated by arbitrary and political detention, we will be doing a serious mistake. These arrests must strengthen us. We must remain on the side of the poor."

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