Katima Mulilo Chief Executive Officer Rafael Liswaniso, mayor Mwiya-Simataa and staff have received death threats by a shadowy figure whose video has now gone viral.
The unidentified person can be heard sternly advising the town’s leadership and employees to move around with bodyguards or risk death via unspecified means for demolishing houses and destroying “our livelihoods”.
In spite of that Liswaniso says he is unfazed by the threats although he has not taken them lightly.
He labels the unknown figure, which in the video is seen concealed in a rag-tag veil, as a coward and when asked if his office had made a formal police report yet, Liswaniso said he sees no need to.
“What report? No, the police have received that; we do not need to report it because that was received by the police countrywide. Why should we report something that has reported itself?” he counters.
“I think that should be for the police to worry about. The police protect Those citizens, and my point is that the police know exactly what to do. I don’t mind much about that. Despite what that person (is) talking, he is a coward. But what I am saying is that we do not take those things lightly. And we are ensuring that the Mayor and the other staff, councillors are protected by the police because the police have seen that (video) also. So it is in the police’s hands,” he says.
He has come out also to say that demolition of houses was the best thing to do as people were being driven by “greed” to grab land, establish “video shops” or selling it to foreigners.
He said the land was being purchased by people from Botswana and Angola and the demolition has been to ensure a lid was put to further escalation of shacks.
Speaking to The Villager this week, Liswaniso delves deeper into the deepening saga in his town and says information that has been dished out by some daily media so far is “sensationalised” and “exaggerated”.
The CEO further says the issue has been politicised by the official opposition to put SWAPO in a bad light while he bashed The Namibian for publishing old images of two years ago to add fire to the “fake news” surrounding the town.
Liswaniso also labelled DTA president McHenry Venaani’s visit to Katima Mulilo as an act of encouraging lawlessness in the country and making towns ungovernable.
He also accused daily media of doctoring pictures to sensationalise the reports of injured people.
“They even went to the point of saying somebody was shot. Somebody died. There is nothing like that,” Liswaniso told The Villager.
TV: The people whose houses have been demolished so far, what has happened to them, have you sheltered them somewhere?
RL: Which people’s houses were demolished?
TV: I am talking about the images that we are getting from houses that are being demolished which the mayor and your office are saying have been illegally built on land where you are supposed to be building formal houses. I want to understand where those people have been sheltered now?
RL: I don’t understand you very well what you are saying. Are you saying houses were demolished? What you want to know is what are we doing with the people that have no homes? I think the question which you should have asked is where they were staying? In fact, because we couldn’t demolish a house where somebody is staying if that person has no alternative. People went back to their houses. They are building houses for business and rentals and grabbing land. So they went back to their houses. Some of those people were given land by the council, and they went there to grab land. They are greedy, that is (it) actually. Greediness.
We did not demolish any house regarding demolishing. We removed those greedy people who just become greedy. They went to grab land while they have homes somewhere. So I do not think Katima Mulilo Town Council would provide that.
TV: Mr Liswaniso but some of these people are saying that they have spent something like N$500 000 to be building these houses, are you going to repay back their money?
RL: Comrade, I think the question that you are asking me is something that is different from what is happening. When you remove a structure that is not yet (there), you need to pay for that. Those are video shops that they are making. We are not aware of those things.
TV: They are just video shops, where they are doing business?
RL: That’s why I am saying, the reality of the matter is that what we were doing was just a preventative measure from the escalation of shacks. Not demolishing houses. It’s only one house that was taken a video of. People had a concentration on that.
The reason we did that was that people were given land by the town council, they left their land, or some sold their land and went to grab. Secondly, most of the people who grabbed are foreigners. And foreigners are buying also land from the people locally. So what we did was just a preventative measure even if you go to where the people are saying we demolished, there are still houses which are sitting there. Why didn’t we demolish them? We selected those that we do not agree with. Those are not houses. The other one (which got destroyed) had its reasons,
Katima has acted lawfully. There is nothing wrong with what we did.
TV: Can you also make it clear to us, we are also receiving news that some shots were fired and some people were shot. Is that true
RL: That’s why I am saying that is an exaggeration. Even the person that they put on Whatsapp, I saw that thing, who got injured, that’s a lie. They took a picture somewhere. Someone is trying to do sensationalism.
To continue this conversation, you can listen to the audio recording we did in conversation with the CEO