News and Information

Aah, the good life: secession and beer
November 11, 2005


THE PROMISE of a "good life" - that is, one characterised by drinking beer - was the motivation that led the prosecution's tenth witness in the main Caprivi high treason trial to become part of a secessionist movement in the Caprivi Region, the witness testified yesterday.

The identity-protected witness faced incessant questioning about the reasons why he had joined a separatist movement in the Caprivi Region as his thirteenth day in the witness box, and the fourth day under cross-examination from the defence lawyers, drew to a close in the High Court in Windhoek yesterday.

Insisting on an answer to that question was defence lawyer Hennie Krueger, the third member of the team of nine defence lawyers to get a turn at testing the witness's evidence.

It took some trying, and Krueger did not appear to be satisfied even after several attempts to get a reply to his question - but however frothy it may have turned out to be, he at least got an answer of sorts, and a potentially illuminating one at that, from the witness in the end.

Krueger started by asking the witness what his personal dreams and ambitions were for the Caprivi Region when, as he has been telling the court, he became involved in the activities of a movement that aimed to secede the region from Namibia.

He has since sworn off those separatist sympathies, the witness has told the court.

He wanted an improved standard of living - just like Krueger, who drives a Mercedes-Benz and lives in a good house, has a good standard of living, the witness said, using the lawyer as an example.

Not happy with that answer, Krueger repeated the question.

He personally wanted the region to secede from Namibia so that it could be "on its own," the witness answered.

"So that we can live well," he said.

With Krueger pressing on the same point, the witness added that he wanted a Caprivi separate from Namibia, so that he could live well and drink beer.

Krueger was not impressed, and told the witness that he was not interested in getting jokey answers from him.

The witness had made himself guilty of one of the highest crimes in any country, which is high treason, and he was trying to get an understanding of the personal aims and ambitions that had driven the witness to become a secessionist, Krueger told him.

The witness answered that there was little else that he could want.

He had acquired some measure of material wealth, such as vehicles and cattle, he got married, he had children, so what was left to do after that was to be able to knock off from work, return home and drink beer.

As he sees life, that was what one did, he explained.

If one does not drink beer, you can go to church - or you can drink beer, he said, making his preferences in this department about as clear as a freshly poured ice-cold lager.

The witness is set to continue with his evidence today, with Krueger to cross-examine him further.


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