LPM demands arrests

The Landless People's Movement says corruption and ethnicity will bring the country to its knees.

19 November 2019 | Politics

The Landless People's Movement (LPM) has called for a citizen's arrest of former ministers Bernard Esau and Sacky Shanghala, as well as others implicated in a fishing scandal in which they are alleged to have received hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes for fishing quotas.

Henny Seibeb, LPM's deputy leader, said at a press briefing yesterday that lawyer Sisa Namandje should also be investigated for having been mentioned in a secretly recorded video in which Esau was allegedly caught negotiating a bribe.

He said Namandje's trust fund ought to be frozen and called on the law society of Namibia to investigate Namandje's possible involvement in funnelling ill-gotten gains for the political elite.

The LPM also called on the Law Society to suspend Namandje's licence in terms of the Legal Practitioners Act until this matter is cleared. Namandje has denied the allegations.

Seibeb said the unfolding fishing scandal was a typical example of how an “unpatriotic criminal cabal” masquerading as true representatives of the people can infiltrate state institutions to divert resources for self-enrichment.

“[What] will bring Namibia to its knees is the scramble for resources amongst the elite,” Seibeb said, suggesting that the “repurposing of scare resources” by the political elite erodes state resources.

He said Esau and Shanghala, along with James Hatuikulipi and 'Fitty' Hatuikulipi, were not the “only masterminds of this grand theft”.



Fishing quotas for the poor

The LPM said in future parliamentarians already receiving high salaries should be excluded from receiving lucrative fishing quotas, which the party said should instead be awarded to poor Namibians.

“At every platform they [parliamentarians] implore the youth to create jobs for themselves but meanwhile they are the biggest looters, not even creating a single job,” Seibeb criticised.

He said presidential commissions of enquiry into corruption cases have proven “useless”, suggesting that those found guilty should be jailed for life while their ill-gotten assets are stripped.



Noa 'not neutral'

Seibeb went on to say that the director-general of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Paulus Noa cannot be trusted because he is a staunch member of the ruling party. “He has dismally failed to deal with high-level economic crimes in Namibia unlike what we used to see in South Africa with advocate Thuli Madonsela, the fearless public protector, when dealing with high-level crimes such as in the Nkandla scandal,” Seibeb said.



Ethnic politics

The LPM also lamented what it calls a resurgence of ethnicity in Namibian politics. It accused convicted former minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa of having ripped off a poster of LPM leader Bernardus Swartbooi about two weeks ago in the Dordabis area, after which she unsuccessfully tried to set the poster alight.

The party also accused supporters of independent presidential candidate Panduleni Itula of having defaced posters of President Hage Geingob.

Police over the weekend had to use teargas and rubber bullets to disperse rival crowds in Oshana Region. Seibeb claimed that Itula supporters had threatened on social media that a civil war would break out if Itula lost the presidential race.

“We will never let ethnic politics reign supreme. We will retaliate too. We won't stand by and watch how some crazy would-be politicians fuelled by former apartheid ruling parties try to destroy Namibia through unpopular means. We will not allow our elections to be stolen,” Seibeb said.





CATHERINE SASMAN

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