State withdraws GBV case over victim’s mental state

19 October 2020 | Justice



The State has withdrawn charges of gender-based violence (GBV) against the Swapo councillor for Rundu Rural Constituency, Michael Shikongo, on the grounds that the complainant, a 63-year-old woman, is emotionally unfit to see out the trial.

Shikongo was arrested on 29 June after he allegedly assaulted Kristine Tjarura Likakatere, who accused him of slapping and punching her until she coughed up blood. This followed a heated quarrel over a plot of land.

Shikongo was granted bail of N$3 000 by Magistrate Sonia Samupofu.

On Thursday last week, Shikongo’s lawyer, Thomas Appolus, argued that a witness statement disclosed by the State was mere hearsay. He also argued that the complainant was mentally unfit to testify in the trial.

State prosecutor Variety Matamata agreed with Appolus, which led to Magistrate Samupofu ordering that the case be withdrawn and that Shikongo’s bail be refunded.

Not yet over

Although the record indicates that the case is finalised, the state prosecutor informed Namibian Sun that the case was only provisionally withdrawn pending the outcome of Likakatere’s psychological evaluation.

Matamata said it is the responsibility of the complainant’s family to have her evaluated, as the State usually only refers accused persons for psychiatric observation.

Endorsed for re-election

Shikongo, who has been the councillor for Rundu Rural Constituency since 2004, has been nominated as Swapo candidate for next month’s regional authority election.

A number of Swapo members in Kavango East and elsewhere had been against Shikongo standing for re-election after his arrest.

However, Shikongo was endorsed as the ruling party's preferred candidate after Virginia Kaimbi withdrew from the contest during a district conference two weeks ago.

Former Kavango East Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) leader Paulus Mbangu resigned from the party in protest and will challenge Shikongo as independent candidate next month.

“I have been proud to serve Swapo Party on the section, branch, regional and national level. It is with great gratitude and bitter sorrow that I must resign from the party in order to contest as an independent candidate in Rundu Rural constituency,” Mbangu wrote to Swapo Kavango East coordinator Ottilie Shinduvi.

“I made the decision in order to save the party from embarrassment as voters have lost confidence in the incumbent Swapo Party councillor, who served in that position for 16 years and counting.”

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