Youth leader’s arrest splits SPYL

20 July 2021 | Justice

MATHIAS HAUFIKU



WINDHOEK

The leadership of the Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) is divided on whether to keep bribe-accused Sylas Mungoba on as a member of its top structure in the Khomas Region.

Mungoba, who appeared in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court facing charges of bribery and defeating the course of justice, serves as an additional member on SPYL’s Khomas regional executive committee.

Namibian Sun understands there are calls by some SPYL national executive committee members to remove Mungoba from his leadership role.

A committee insider who spoke to this publication said “keeping him on will exert reputational damage on the entire party”.

“The party has already suffered enough because of this Fishrot matter, so if Sylas is kept on, it will seem as if the party condoned his alleged actions,” the source, who refused to be named, said.

Those in support of Mungoba, however, feel it is still premature to get rid of him in the absence of ‘substantive information’.

No comment

SPYL’s secretary for information, publicity and mobilisation Gerson Dumeni refused to comment when approached.

He just said “we will have a press conference on this matter on Thursday where we will answer that”.

SPYL was supposed to hold a press conference yesterday but it was postponed to Thursday.

The postponement allegedly emanated from Mungoba’s court appearance, and some committee members strong-armed SPYL secretary Ephraim Nekongo to postpone the briefing in order for them to have enough time to gather information that will help them respond to media queries.

Mungoba serves as the personal assistant of urban and rural development deputy minister Natalia Goagoses. She is one of the 10 national leaders assigned to Khomas.

Out of office

Goagoses, when asked about Mungoba’s future yesterday, said no decision has been made at this point.

“I was out of office for the past month, tomorrow [today] I will have a meeting with my minister to discuss this matter,” she said.

Mungoba, who is being defended by lawyer Smart Elago, will return to court on 2 August for a formal bail application.

Magistrate Ndapewa Amadhila remanded him in custody after the State prosecution indicated that six witness statements, MTC records and the translation and transcription of an audio clip are still outstanding.

The State also objected bail because of the “serious nature of the offence”, adding that “investigations are at a premature stage as well as fears that he will interfere with investigations or the state witnesses”.

The allegations

According to media reports, Mungoba was arrested last Friday for allegedly lobbying for demonstrations demanding the release of Fishrot accused persons.

While the constitution allows for freedom of expression and mobilisation of legal demonstrations, his alleged offering of money to Affirmative Repositioning (AR) activists to organise the demonstrations landed him into hot water, leading to charges of bribery.

The money, according to The Namibian, was for logistics related to the demonstration, including T-shirts.