Namibia: Inmates Want Long-Term Sentences Slashed

28 November 2019

Windhoek — Inmates who voted at the Windhoek correctional facility yesterday have called on the High Court to correct the unconstitutional long-term sentences imposed on inmates, taking into consideration the Supreme Court judgement earlier this year that ruled jail terms exceeding the expected lifespan of long-term prisoners are unconstitutional in Namibia.

Natangwe Ngatjizeko, 40, sentenced to 40-years imprisonment said sentences beyond 37 years and six months are unconstitutional and there are inmates still serving 50 and 90-year jail sentences at the correctional facility in Windhoek. He said these sentences should be reduced. He told New Era that Legal Aid is not providing lawyers, as there are no funds to pay them to assist inmates with long-term sentences. He said inmates do not have lawyers neither funds to appeal their lengthy sentences. The convict said the Ombudsman is supposed to look into this matter.

"We are expected to initiate the appeal or get legal aid but now there are no funds. It is a process taking forever. How do you expect us to correct something we have not done?" he said.

Further, he was of the view the Supreme Court judgment is binding on all courts and persons which means it is also binding on them.

Ngatjizeko shared his expectation yesterday at a Windhoek correctional facility polling station on what he wants done after the elections as an incarcerated voter.

He also shared he expects whoever will be elected as president to fulfill his/her obligation under the constitution.

He further called for speedy justice system whether on inmates who are on trial or when appealing sentences. He shared that he spent six years on trial and when he was sentenced to 40 years, the six years he was on trial were not considered.

Ngatjizeko was sentenced for killing his biological mother, Fenny Ipinge during December 2006 in a crime of matricide that shocked the nation by the scale of its violence. His fellow inmate Gerhold Kamboua, 43, called on the president to give inmates amnesty. Other inmates chirped in saying the current President, Hage Geingob did not pardon any offenders during his first term in office.

"The president should look at the inmates, it doesn't mean we are trash when we are here. Every president should give amnesty," stated Kamboua who is serving 19 years for murdering his friend.

So far, Kamboua has served a year and half into his term.

Kamboua called on the political leadership to end corruption as it negatively affects citizens, which leads to people committing crimes.

He said leaders should not 'eat alone' and forget those who voted them into power.

Another inmate, Ambrosious Katuta, 33 suggested the government should offer them jobs at construction sites as they just sit in the facility and do nothing. "We want jobs, they bring Chinese inmates here to work on construction sites, why can't the same be done with us," retorted Katuta.

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