by NATION REPORTER (11/3/2007)
A publication by Namibia’s ruling party says former president Bakili Muluzi pledged to bankroll Sam Nujoma’s trial to the tune of over K1 million (R50,000) but Sam Mpasu, spokesperson for Muluzi, said he was not aware of the pledge.
Namibia Today, an official publication of the South West Africa Peoples Organisation (Swapo) which is chaired by Nujoma, said in its issues of August 24, and 30 that Muluzi and his senior special advisor (name withheld), pledged to pay R100,000 (K2,100,000) in legal fees to help fight a case in which a human rights NGO, Nation Society for Human Rights (NSHR), reportedly dragged Nujoma to the International Criminal Court (ICC) on crimes related to the missing of political activists.
The paper claimed that Muluzi pledged to contribute R50,000 in legal fees and the other half would come from his senior special advisor
When contacted to shed light on the issue, Mpasu said: “What we know is that Nujoma and Muluzi were in good terms when both of them were presidents and their relationship is still there. In fact, UDF and Swapo are sister parties, they invite us when they have their conventions. We also invite them when we hold ours. We learn from each other.”
Mpasu said he knows the person mentioned in Namibia Today as Muluzi’s senior special advisor as an Asian-Malawian currently based in the United Kingdom but added that it would be difficult to comment on the alleged pledge because he only heard from the media that a human rights organisation plans to take Nujoma to the ICC.
We were unable to speak to the senior special advisor.
But reads the story: “Former Malawian president Dr. Bakili Muluzi and his Senior Special Advisor...have jointly pledged to pay R100,000 towards legal fees to fight a submission by the Nation Society for Human Rights (NSHR) to the International Criminal Court (ICC) where it wants founding president Sam Nujoma and three other Namibian leaders to be tried for people who went missing under the care of Swapo during the struggle and shortly after independence.”
The paper quotes Muluzi’s senior special advisor as having stated that Muluzi was disappointed with Phil Ya Nangoloh’s conduct, the executive director of NSHR.
“In the most unlikely event that the neo imperialists and eurocentrics succeed in getting the International Criminal Court to take up the matter, I have been asked to inform you that Dr. Muluzi will donate R50,000 towards legal fees, and I shall donate an additional R50,000,” Nambia Today quotes Muluzi’s senior special advisor as saying.
In an email response from Windhoek on the matter on Tuesday, Nangoloh said that they are worried with Muluzi’s gesture as reported in Swapo’s official publication in Namibia.
Said Nangoloh: “We deem Mr. Bakili Muluzi’s gesture in a very serious light. Firstly, it is not appropriate nor is it honourable for him to put his nose into Namibia’s domestic affairs however the close friendship between him and Nujoma.”
Nangoloh said it is surprising that Muluzi made such a pledge when there is a lot of suffering in Malawi, even among members of his own political party.
“Mr. Nujoma himself has not contributed a cent to his own defence. We believe that Muluzi and Nujoma have secretly planned to return to power during the next elections in both countries, and this, we suspect, was the main reason Muluzi paid a mysterious visit to Namibia in March this year and he was Nujoma’s guest of honour,” The email response reads in part.
NSHR, a well known human rights organisation in Namibia, last year in November submitted a report to ICC implicating Nujoma, former defence minister Errki Nghimtina, former chief of the defence forces, retired Lt. General Salomon Hawala and Colonel Thomas Shunya to be tried on the role they played in the missing of political activists during the country’s independence struggle and immediately after independence.
NSHR on its official website details in 15 sections their report to the ICC on the missing people and Nujoma’s alleged role.
Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) Executive Director Undule Mwakasungura on Wednesday said he was aware of the issue, having been briefed by Namibian human rights organisations.
“We are trying to see how we can come up with a campaign against Muluzi’s intentions. There is no way Muluzi should be supporting a person who is being accused of various human rights violations,” Mwakasungura said.
According to Mwakasungura, Muluzi and Nujoma are birds of the same feather as both of them want to bounce back to power.
Mwakasungura urged Muluzi against supporting Nujoma financially for a trial on human rights violations even if they share the same ambitions, saying doing so would be morally wrong.
ICC is an independent, permanent court that tries persons accused of the most serious crimes of international concern, namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The ICC is based on a treaty signed by 105 countries in the world.
The ICC is a court of last resort and does not act if a case is investigated or prosecuted by a national judicial system unless the national proceedings are not genuine.