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YOU CAN PUNISH ME, BUT DON’T KILL ME FINANCIALLY – HISHOONO

By: JusticiaShipena

Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) member and teacher Abed ‘Bishop’ Hishoono is asking for financial leniency from the court since he is still paying back the loans he took for his wedding last year. 

Hishoono recorded a video last year making defamatory allegations against Geingos. He claimed that Geingos owns an airline established to destroy Air Namibia in the video.

He also alleged that Geingos and James Hatuikulipi have a more than 20 years old child.

Geingos is suing Hishoono for N$350 000.

The IPC leader told the High Court on Tuesday that the amount he is supposed to pay is double his current income. 

“You can punish me, but don’t kill me financially. I cannot pay, please, this is a huge amount. I don’t know where to get it, “he said. 

“Financially, I’m already hurt by coming here. My car even broke down,” he also said while offering to do community service. 

High Court Judge Orben Sibeya said community service is not an option in this matter.

“Give me something else, Your Lordship,” said Hishoono, adding that he knows the First Lady is the nation’s mother.

“I have a classroom and a family. The First Lady is a mother. She should not beat one child because he repeated a rumour.”

He also said it would strain his mental health as he is already struggling with the cost to attend court. 

Hishoono said when he received the Summon, he asked other people who Monica Geingos was.

“I found that she is a wonderful person, she helps people a lot, and she does things for women and children. She also has a lot of international recognition. 

“I understand the First Lady is the nation’s mother. It wouldn’t be right to destroy mine,” he pleaded, adding that the rumour existed before his video.

“I would like to stand here and take responsibility for the video, I authored it, and I did not fabricate it. I just repeated a rumour.”

Judge Sibeya indicated that evidence is provided in the evidence-in-chief and thus said he can’t consider information that was not referred to. 

“I am not a lawyer. I don’t know how this thing works,” said Hishoono.

When asked whether he agrees that the comments made in the video injured Geingos’ image, Hishoono said: “I see that it is taken out of proportion.” 

Judge Sibeya further asked Hishoono about the allegations compared to Geingos’ testimony. 

“She raised her hand under oath, and the allegations I made in the video are false.” 

However, Geingos’ lawyer, Sisa Namandjeargues, that the allegations by Hishoono were false and harmed his client. 

“She further pleaded that the allegations made in their ordinary meaning were defamatory and were intended by the Defendant to mean or were understood by the persons who acquired knowledge thereof to mean that the Plaintiff was corrupt, greedy, selfish and that she considered her interests ahead and above the general interests of the Namibian people,” said Namandje. 

He also argued that the allegations injured her reputation and violated her dignity. 

“Hishoono has no factual basis for making such allegations and knew they were false. The sole purpose of making the false allegations was to injure and harm the Plaintiff’s reputation and dignity for political reasons.”

Namandje added that Hishoono’s plea admitted the allegations concerning the Geingos’ good name and reputation. 

“He, however, awkwardly sought to deny that he is the person that made the video and features in the video, notwithstanding overwhelming evidence confirming such fact. The video was played in this court, and the Defendant had no choice but to admit he made the video,” he said.

He said traditionally, the law of defamation seeks to protect a person’s right to an unimpaired reputation and good name. 

“Reputation in this respect mirrors the estimation or good opinion an individual has in the eyes of society. Defamatory allegations necessarily and causally lead to a lowering of any person’s standing in the estimation of others.”

Hence, Namandje added that a litigant who proves defamation is entitled to compensation and appropriate apology.

“We are claiming damages due to the violation of her dignity, which fundamental right is protected under Article 8(1) of the Namibian Constitution,” he stressed. 

In his closing argument, Namandje submitted to the court that Hishoono is not a candidate for the court’s mercy. 

“He was reckless. He was careless. He was deliberate. He was malicious. And he was political. He was not civil and was not mannered at all,” he lauded. 

According to him, the evidence tendered by Hishoono contradicted his pleadings.

“Evidence that contradicts one’s pleadings is inadmissible. His evidence can be likened to an orgy of lies, fabrication, recklessness, madness and complete dullness. We, therefore, invite the court to treat the Defendant’s evidence as wholly unreliable and unhelpful to the court.”

Thus, Hishoono should be ordered to tender an apology and retraction.

“The apology and retraction must be entirely sincere and real.”

The judgement will be delivered by Sibeya on 11 February 2022 at 10h00 in the Windhoek High Court. 

Justicia Shipena

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