PG candidate Herunga reacts

Herunga is allegedly earmarked for the position, but she is adamant she would remove her political jacket if she gets the nod.

12 November 2020 | Local News

ELLANIE SMIT







WINDHOEK

Ruth Herunga, one of the three candidates shortlisted for the position of Prosecutor-General (PG), says she would have no way to rescind the Fishrot prosecution as it is already in court.

Her inclusion in the shortlisted race for the position has caused public outcry, with many charging that she is too politically compromised to be the nation’s PG.

Twitter, the medium where she often makes her supposedly partisanship views glaringly clear, was a hive of activity when she, incumbent PG Martha Imalwa and FNB Namibia group legal advisor Taswald July were announced as three contenders for the cushy job.

Herunga has long been tipped for the job, owing to her affinity to power.

She was recently appointed as Fishcor board member, the state-owned company used as a conduit for mass bribery in the so-called Fishrot scandal.

Critics say the appointment of the temporary board was a tactic to help erase the trail of the scandal that landed former Fishcor board chairperson James Hatuikulipi and CEO Mike Nghipunya in jail.

Also behind bars are former fisheries minister Berhardt Esau and his justice counterpart Sacky Shanghala.

Impartiality questioned

Being a member of the Swapo think tank and a party hardliner on social media has also led to questions about how Herunga would be impartial if given the job.

At a press conference yesterday, the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) movement yesterday claimed that a decision regarding the PG position has already been taken, hinting strongly at Herunga’s appointment.

AR leader Job Amupanda said if the appointment goes ahead, this would mark the end of the Fishrot case.

“Part of the strategy is to kill the Fishrot case. We are sounding alarm and warning Namibians, our country will deteriorate,” he said.

The AR is planning a nationwide protest next Tuesday against what they term a corrupt recruitment process, after the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) indicated that interviews for the position would not be held publicly as recently requested by AR.

‘Judiciary has insulted us’

“The judiciary has insulted Namibians. It is busy harassing Namibians with their shenanigans,” Amupanda said.

“When the JSC first advertised the position, corrupt political stooges, particularly a Swapo functionary, election mobiliser and member of the opponent strategy, Ruth Herunga, took to social media to complain about the requirements and asked for them to be reconsidered.”

“There is now two sets of requirements and we do not know which set of requirements the JSC used, the initial ones or the Ruth Herunga ones,” Amupanda, who called Herunga a ‘State House friend’, said.

Personal attacks

Speaking to Namibian Sun yesterday, Herunga said the attacks against her are personal.

“I have 24 years legal experience and have served in various positions. My experience as a magistrate has taught me how to be impartial.”

How she will behave in the job cannot be pre-empted, she said.

Any of the candidates, if successful, would immediately have to sever ties with any political party, including herself, she added.

‘Don’t succumb’

The Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) had previously told the JSC not to succumb to the AR’s demands after the radical movement asked that the interviews be held publicly.

Approached for comment yesterday, league secretary Ephraim Nekongo said: “Was Job’s position as a lecturer at Unam (University of Namibia) acquired through public interviews?”

“The JSC is not incompetent. They must be allowed to do their job without outside influence. We must allow public institutions [to] do their work,” he said.

According to a June report by The Namibian, he also allegedly received money related to Fishrot, but Nekongo denied the claims at the time.

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