Oshana regional treasurer blames ‘Harambee witch-hunt’ in coordinator’s arrest ...as SPYL hits back at 'disunity instigators'

photo by: John Walenga

Swapo’s Oshana regional treasurer, Malakia Petrus Katumbo, has fingered ‘team Harambee’ for political witch-hunt in the arrest of the Oshana regional coordinator Samuel Nelongo after he was found in possession of stolen cattle.

The Namibian Police in the Oshana Region accompanied Nelongo to his farm at Omangeti in the Oshikoto Region on Monday morning to go and conduct further investigations on the theft case.

Nelongo was arrested this weekend and charged with stock theft under CR 88/22/2018.

Oshana police's regional investigations coordinator, Deputy Commissioner Hilja Haipumbu, confirmed to The Villager that police investigators took Nelongo to his farm to go and conduct further investigations but that she has not received results from the investigators as they were still at the farm late Monday afternoon.

Haipumbu said she could not confirm further developments in the case and updates would be given in due time.

Nelongo, who has been accused of stealing cattle, has also been implicated for allegedly collaborating with a police officer to release him provided he returns the stolen livestock.

However, Katumbo has come out to say that Nelongo is one of many political figures who are being targeted for supporting Team Swapo during the Swapo Congress and that a fellow councillor orchestrated his arrested with the owners of the alleged stolen cattle.

Katumbo’s allegations have been widely circulated in a  WhatsApp where he says that Nelongo is being targeted because he aligned himself with Team Swapo, and the complainant in the theft case had no intension of opening a case until he was told to do so by forces at play.

In the SMS composed in Oshiwambo, he alleged that another councillor orchestrated Nelongo’s arrest with the owner of the stolen cow.

Speaking to The Villager, Katumbo said, “The son of the complainant travelled from Windhoek to come and open a case. The complainant who is the owner of the cattle had agreed not to open a case and acknowledged that Nelongo had in fact kept his cow safe.”

He added that Nelongo and the owner of the cow that was found in the car had agreed to transport it to his house on Sunday but the complainant did not meet Nelongo on the said day as he had gone to church, but had asked his son to intercept the cow on his behalf.

“Before reaching the complainant’s home Nelongo received a call from the police asking him to go to the police, where he was told that a case had been opened against him. When he inquired on who had opened the case, he was told that the owner of the cow opened a case despite the fact that the owner had agreed that there will be no case. He was then told he was under arrest,” he said.

He said that the son of the complainant on Monday morning accompanied the police to Nelongo’s farm to determine whether there are more stolen cattle at his farm.

“The son allegedly heard that about 30 more cattle are missing so they went to investigate. Nelongo also went to Omangeti with the police,” he said.

Katumbo also said that he did not mean to instigate war in his circulated SMS, “I said if you commit ills against others, tomorrow I might also do the same to you which might be worse. So if you go and threaten a fellow councillor in order to de-seat them because of who they supported at congress then that is not good. We know there are politics at play. We know there are intensions to de-seat those of us who were Team Swapo and to be replaced with people of Harambee. They already said that. I am not threatening war I am just saying if you do bad things to another person then that person can revenge. Those are the things that can bring war, tribal wars, which is why I said let peace rule,” he said.

Katumbo went to collect the vehicle that was used in the alleged theft and parked it at the offices, he told The Villager.

Swapo Party Youth League Secretary Ephraim Nekongo has however refuted allegations levelled by Katumbo, saying that supporters of President Hage Geingob are not targeting other Swapo members.

“I am very disappointed that every time individuals are implicated in their own affairs they want to draw team Harambee and Team Swapo, why? I saw a message from a certain Katumbo circulating who is saying team Harambee is targeting people who were on Team Swapo. How can we target someone that we do not even know. Is it us who went to put that cow in the car or what? From our side as the Swapo youth league we do not want anything to do with the coordinator but what we are disappointed in is the individual who continues to fabricate lies against the president,” he said.

Nekongo said, “In this case I want to single out a certain councillor, comrade Katumbo, who is contributing this fake news to people to cause disunity in the party. We do not want that. Whatever is happening there and whether the coordinator stole cattle or not that is not our story. Our problem is that they continue these attacks. Like the Kambweshe issue, how can Harambee have an attachment o Kambweshe, did we go and steal money or what? People must fight their own battles without dragging the party in.”

He said that the party will only concern itself with whether the party vehicle was used in the crime or not and that it should wait for justice to take its course before pronouncing itself on the behaviour of the coordinator.

“The mother body and the party’s secretary general must deal with that issue. That person must be disciplined for using the car to steal,” he said.