News and Information

Exile Persists with Clemency Appeal
February 18, 2005


By Chrispin Inambao
WANTED secessionist suspect Joseph Muchali, who last year broke ranks with alleged secessionist leader Mishake Muyongo, is persisting with his appeal to request for clemency from the Namibian Government.
Muchali who says he was trapped in a “secessionist web” reiterated his appeal for “possible amnesty” from President Sam Nujoma before 21 March when the liberation hero is expected to hand over the reins to ruling Swapo Party stalwart Hifikepunye Pohamba.
Justice Minister Dr Albert Kawana last year ruled out the possibility of granting amnesty to Muchali in light of the ongoing high treason trial and he was firm saying justice should take its course.
Other Swapo officials had however welcomed this gesture from Muchali particularly when Muchali said Muyongo wants to come back home.
In recent correspondence sent to New Era, Muchali, a former education official, was unwavering saying he wants to “advance the notion of peace and reconciliation” with the Swapo-led administration.
He said following his initiative last year to sever ranks with the exiled opposition politician “many” Namibians who fled the country before and after the secessionist uprising were elated while they are also “hopeful that it’s still possible for the President to give a favourable response on the plight of so many”.
Muchali said since the forum advocating for the return of exiled Namibians was initiated by him it has contacted Namibia’s consular representative in Canada “to help” in mediation. The group has also sent some correspondence to State House through Namibia’s diplomatic mission in Washington D.C and is apparently waiting for a reply.
Yesterday a senior aide-de-camp to President Sam Nujoma said State House has not received such correspondence and an official in the office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs also said she was not aware of such correspondence from Muchali and his group.
Muchali says the group also wants the clergy to “mediate” on their behalf and he is still hopeful he may receive a positive response.
“The Namibian Forum For Presidential Pardon have not given up yet – we are right on course in seeking the audience of Namibia’s First Citizen. As for Muyongo, a range of respectable elder men from Namibia – particularly the Caprivi Region had advised (us) to isolate the man – and for us to pursue a noble cause for the good of our country and those who find themselves as victims in the dilemma,” he stated.
Muchali says his group “firmly believes his endorsement of our quest for pardon and amnesty will mean a lot for Namibia”.
A hundred and twenty secessionist suspects are being tried at the High Court at Grootfontein by Justice Elton Hoff on an unprecedented 278 charges, among them sedition, high treason, murder, attempted murder, possession of fire-arms and explosives.
The suspects who include alleged commander of the so-called Caprivi Liberation Army (CLA) John Sikundeko Samboma and former opposition parliamentarian Geoffrey Mwilima are being represented by a multi-national team of defence lawyers from Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The Ministry of Justice through its Directorate of Legal Aid is picking up the tab for the suspects’ costly defence.


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