News and Information

Hell is for lawyers, says Caprivi treason suspect
February 17, 2005


BITTER words of reproach were directed at lawyers involved in the Caprivi high treason trial in the High Court at Grootfontein yesterday.

"As long as there is still a space in hell, no lawyer is going to enter into heaven," was one of the comments from treason suspect Martin Tubaundule when he addressed Judge Elton Hoff on whether he wanted to cross-examine the fourth State witness to testify in the trial.

It was evident that the normally soft-spoken Tubaundule - a self-admitted believer in the idea of an independent Caprivi Region who had been a primary school headmaster in that region before he left Namibia to take up refuge in Botswana in late 1998 - was embittered by the predicament that he and 14 of his co-accused find themselves in after losing their legal representation two weeks ago.

Not only he, but most of the other men in the group calling itself 'the Caprivi 15' referred to the fact that they were before the court without legal representation and that they were laymen in the field of law when Judge Hoff gave each an opportunity to indicate whether they wanted to cross-examine State witness Michael Maswabi Nuwe, who had given evidence since Tuesday last week.

Nuwe's testimony was wrapped up yesterday, after each of the 15 had told the Judge that he had no questions for Nuwe.

Most of the 15 went further than that, despite repeated warnings from Judge Hoff that he did not want them to repeat statements that they had already made "ad nauseum" before yesterday.

That did not deter Tubaundule and fellow unrepresented suspects Herbert Mutahane, Aggrey Makendano, Davis Mazyiu, Andreas Mulupa, John Samboma and Lister Tutalife from once again telling the Judge that they no longer considered themselves to be part of the high treason trial and did not want to even attend trial proceedings any further.

Makendano and another member of the group of 15, Thaddeus Ndala, added that they were being brought to court against their will and by force, with Makendano also complaining: "I'm tortured - mentally, psychologically and emotionally."

Samboma told the Judge yesterday that the 15 were the same situation as a boxer tied up with ropes while facing a challenger.

Both he and Ndala also told Judge Hoff that they were still waiting to get a lawyer who would launch the jurisdiction challenge that they want to be heard.

Tubaundule added to that, stating to Judge Hoff that he was still looking for "a fearless lawyer", before continuing to state his opinion of where lawyers go to once they had shuffled off this mortal coil, having defended their last clients and hung up their robes for the very last time.

Judge Hoff did not let their statements go unanswered.

He remarked that a question that should also be asked was who had tied the boxer's hands behind his back, and the accused persons should also be honest enough to then point the finger back at themselves.

He said he hoped Tubaundule was successful in his search for "a fearless lawyer", and then added that there was a saying that came to his mind: "But he should not forget: 'Fools rush in where angels fear to tread."

The trial continues today


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