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New Era Newspaper - 12/06/2017 - Vol22 No212

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  • Namibia
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Herman Andimba Toivo ya Toivo

4 NEWS Monday, June

4 NEWS Monday, June 12 2017 | NEW ERA Death threats made against key treason witness Maria Amakali Windhoek One of the State’s key witnesses who testified in the Caprivi treason trial that went on for almost thirteen years in court, now lives in fear following alleged threats from family members of one of the acquitted persons. Christopher Siboli said that since the release of Rodwell Kasika Mukendwa who was acquitted of high treason in August 2012, he has been living in fear. Siboli informed New Era that the past week the threats became so amplified he had to open a case with the police. According to Siboli, who resides approximately 500m away from the Mukendwa homestead at Libula village in Zambezi Region, in May he was at a family meeting when Harriet Mukendwa, the sister to Rodwell Mukendwa, showed up at the meeting with bad intentions with an axe. “If it were not for people who were present, she would have chopped me,” narrated Siboli. “Harriet Mukendwa was screaming and hurling insults at me, stating that I was the reason why one of his brothers died (due to liver failure) and why his brother Rodwell had to be behind bars all these years,” stated Siboli. He allegedly reported the matter to the village council and they were all summoned (Rodwell was also in attendance) the past weekend but the family continued to make threats against Siboli who now fears for his life. “They were asking why was I still breathing and further informed me they will do whatever is needed to be done to ensure I am dead,” explained Siboli. During the lawsuit hearing in the high court last month, the former deputy prosecutor general Taswald July informed the court that Liboli’s statement was a crucial one to their prosecution. According to him the statement incriminated Mukendwa. It is alleged Mukendwa attended secret meetings held at exiled politician Mishake Muyongo’s house in 1998 with the intent to discuss the secession of Caprivi, and his vehicle was amongst those that transported military weapons at the time. A case of assault under CR- 30/06/2017 has been opened with the police and Harriet Mukendwa was arrested last week on Thursday. Vocal… Deputy Minister of Finance Natangwe Ithete Ithete blasts foreigners for taking land Nuusita Ashipala Ongwediva The Deputy Minister of Finance Natangwe Ithete has lashed out at foreigners occupying land at the expense of locals, and those who come to the country to pursue personal advances rather than investing in the country. The fired-up Ithete, who was particularly addressing the issue of land owned by white farmers, called on the Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) to take the lead in formulating policies that will enable the government to repossesses such land. He warned that the days of Eveline de Klerk Walvis Bay The Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia (SDFN) will fork out at least N.7 million for 100 unserviced residential plots that have been allocated to them by the Walvis Bay Town Council to assist them get proper houses. The council during an ordinary council meeting held last Tuesday at the town confirmed it would offer 100 erven by means of private transaction to the federation. The said erven are in Extension7 in Kuisebmond. According to the council the federation initially applied for 350 erven from the 1,020 erven that were serviced under the mass urban and rural land servicing programme rolled out in Walvis Bay, Oshakati and Windhoek. However, the municipality of Walvis Bay already under the programme has allocated extensions 5, 6 and 7 in Kuisebmond and Extension 7 in Narraville to the ministry. The council added the extensions have already been provided with infrastructure and 1,020 serviced erven were made available. A show house project was also launched by the ministry to playing games are long gone and those who do not want to sell the land fairly back to the government through the willing buyer, willing seller approach, which is to their advantage, should pack up and leave. “We are not supposed to buy the land, we are just doing it because of peace. If they think our elders went into exile to fight for mahala and not for land they are lying to themselves – we are coming. Swapo Youth League should take the lead and inform the government that enough is enough. We are not yet free until we have the land in our hands. SPYL, I am urging you to engage enable local contractors to build prototype houses, which is currently still underway. The shack dwellers are required to pay 5 percent of the purchase price when they sign the sale agreement and the remaining balance be paid over a period of the government at the envisaged land policy conference to get this land back,” said Ithete. He said the land will not be repossessed by means of grabbing. “These foreigners who come to our country for foreign tenders and they take our money and go without even building a school must stop. We need foreigners and they are more than welcome but if they do come they should directly invest in our economy,” said Ithete. Ithete exploded at a SPYL Oshana regional conference on Saturday. In the same vein Ithete called on the youth, irrespective of their political affiliation, to unite so 180 months as per ministerial approval. The shack dwellers are also expected to advertise the terms and conditions at their own coast. They are furthermore required to develop the plots within 12 months from date of transfer in the deeds office. Failing to comply that they collectively correct and advise the government when “it is getting off the road”. Ithete furthermore called on the opposition youths to join Swapo and collectively draft policies that will assist in governing as the youth are the majority of voters who put Swapo in the position to govern. “Thesethings of telling people you are from DTA or CoD – that is history. We as the young people need to mobilize each other and join the progressive movement Swapo. As a young people we decided through the ballot papers there should be a Swapo government,” said Ithete. Seeking a better life… A typical scene at a dwelling for SDFN members. Photo: Nuusita Ashipala SDFN to pay N.7 million for erven would result in the undeveloped erven reverting back to the council at the expense of the federation. According to the council no informal structures such as shebeens, bars or any illegal structure will be allowed on any of the erven.

Monday, June 12 2017 | NEW ERA NEWS 5 Landless could invade Geingob’s farm Matheus Hamutenya Karasburg The former deputy minister of land reform, Bernadus Swartbooi, has threatened to take the livestock of landless people to President Hage Geingob’s farm if the government does not accede to their demands for resettlement farms. Addressing the Landless People’s Movement (LPM) meeting at Karasburg on Saturday, Swartbooi made reference to several farmers who were summoned to appear in court for occupying government land illegally, but saying they should take their animals to Geingob’s farm if they are evicted. Swartbooi said farmers have taken the farms as they do not have land and it is painful that the government wants to evict them without giving them an alternative. He impressed on the government to hear the cries of its people and solve their problems, and that it should therefore provide landless people with land, which he said belongs to the people being threatened with eviction. The former //Kharas governor urged farmers to stay on the farms and only move away if the government can give them land where they can go with their animals. “If the court decides that these men must go out of that farm, then let us put those cents together, and those with trucks get them ready and we will load those animals and take them to Geingob’s farm,” he said. He also lashed out at the resettlement programme, saying it is corrupt and does not seek to give land back to those that lost land during colonial times. Swartbooi also took a swipe at Swapo for “not doing enough for the people of the south”, indicating that if things are not corrected he will not vote or campaign for a party that does not have people’s interests at heart. “Come 2019, if things do not change, I will not vote where I used to vote – we are not a political party but a political region and if this government does not give back our land then it must go,” he cautioned. He also spoke out against alleged corruption in government, saying he is aware of top leaders involved in corrupt activities, adding that he is glad he was fired as he does not want a position in a bankrupt government, where some leaders have “stolen” money. He said corruption is rife and will continue unabated because people who are supposed to report corruption are the ones who are corrupt and milking the country dry, according to him. “If N0 million is lost and you say let us close it down and move on, then you ask yourself how much it really is, and I know of top leaders who have their hands all over that bank, but I will not mention names, they have stolen all the money and it is not even in their banks, they keep it in their houses,” he said. Photo: Matheus Hamutenya Pushing… Bernadus Swartbooi speaks during the LPM meeting at Karasburg. Ministry of Finance to blame for Psemas woes - Haufiku Alvine Kapitako Windhoek The Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Bernard Haufiku, yesterday stressed that had the Ministry of Finance managed the Public Service Employees Medical Aid (Psemas) properly the catastrophic events that could lead to the collapse of the fund would have been avoided. Speaking to New Era on the cancellation of contracts between the Ministry of Finance, Psemas and health care professionals, Haufiku said other private medical aids have been managed properly and are hence not experiencing the current problems. “If Psemas was managed properly, let’s say five years ago, things would not have been this way. The Ministry of Finance must just accept,” asserted the minister of health. He said the finance ministry ineffectively managed Psemas and some of the doctors “looted” the fund in cahoots with officials from the finance ministry as well as the claims department. Haufiku said Psemas clients make up 15 percent of the population and an impression should not be given that both the private and public health sectors are on the verge of collapse. “There was no money. The Ministry of Finance had no money,” he noted when responding to why some medical practitioners as well as private pharmacies have not been paid for services rendered. The “economic crisis that’s grappling the country (lack of cash flow) as well as the inefficient manner in which Psemas was managed contributed to the delays in payments”, explained Haufiku. Meetings between officials from the health and finance ministries were held to discuss the way forward regarding Psemas. The finance ministry has confirmed it will cancel all contracts between the ministry, Psemas and health care professionals effective June 30. On Thursday, Andreas Ileka, the personal assistant to finance permanent secretary Ericah Shafudah said the cancellation would give way to a new contract that is “under development”. Health professionals would further have to meet the new terms to become part of the new reform. “If you do not meet the requirements, you cannot enter into the agreement,” stated Ileka, who however could not elaborate on what the requirements for the new contract would be. Haufiku in March this year said Psemas was being revamped to make it sustainable and less susceptible to fraudulent claims. Psemas funds have been depleted following some unscrupulous private doctors submitting suspect claims, turning it into a cash cow. Pharmacists who spoke to New Era on Wednesday said many private practices and pharmacies had resorted to turning away Psemas clients who sought medical attention because of the government’s delay in payments and cancellation of contracts. In April, New Era reported that Minister of Finance Calle Schlettwein authorised the use of N0 million in state funds to partially honour payments for medical services provided to Psemas members. The president of the Pharmaceutical Society of Namibia, Benjamin Khumalo, noted the situation could negatively affect many people in need of medical services. “We’re reaching a point where you have to have money in the pocket to access private health care services, and you can no longer rely on medical aid. However, what will happen to people with medical aid but yet have low-paying jobs?” Khumalo said. Those affected include government cleaners and police officials, amongst others. Psemas clients make up the majority of medical aid customers, and Khumalo estimates that outside Windhoek about 90 percent of medical aid clients are Psemas members while in Windhoek they are at least 60 percent of all clients. Psemas has a total of 293,250 members of whom about 124,000 are principal members and the rest are pensioners and dependants. The membership and dependants constitute about 13.1 percent of the total population, and therefore financial shortfalls at Psemas have a substantial impact on the population and households. Khumalo further disclosed that five pharmacies have already closed shop and retrenched their staff because of the delays in payments by the government. “Professionals are moving to neighbouring countries, and their argument is if it’s stable in other countries why not move there?” Khumalo said. The majority of those moving to other countries are foreign health professionals but they also include a few Namibians. Furthermore, the new professionals in the health field were the ones that struggled most to survive. Khumalo emphasised the delays had “a serious impact on services and some pharmacies are unable to help Psemas clients. Not everybody (pharmacies) has the money to survive. “The newly established ones (pharmacies) can’t survive, because of the delays in payments by the government.” The situation seriously affected patients because they had to go from one pharmacy to another to buy drugs as some pharmacies had stopped stocking up on certain drugs. For example, HIV-positive patients do not take only one drug, but in most cases medicines available at one pharmacy may not be available at another. “As a result people are not complying with their treatment,” Khumalo added. Many patients are on lifesustaining medication such as HIV-positive and hypertensive people. Patients with one rare condition need to spend as much as N0,000 a month for their medication, which they can’t live without. “These are people with serious conditions,” Khumalo said. He highlighted a case where one such client had not taken medication since February because the pharmacy could no longer afford to buy the medication because of the delays in payments. “Pharmacies don’t make medicines. They buy them from suppliers, and suppliers outside the country don’t know the problems the government faces, so they do not understand when we explain the delay in payments.” A pharmaceutical distributor, who preferred to remain anonymous, said the problem was serious. “We have had to make plans for additional cash flow in order to pay our suppliers,” the distributor said. “There’s been some improvements I must say, because the government tried to cover up (pay debts) until last year,” Khumalo said, adding that the government had been paying pharmacies. However, “payments come at random and not all pharmacies have received payment.” Maria Amakali Windhoek Defence wants murder accused acquitted The defence lawyer in a case of murder wants his client acquitted of all charges he is facing, on grounds the State arguably failed to prove its case beyond any reasonable doubt. The prosecution is charging Alfred Goseb with a count of murder and a count of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm in connection with the death of Manfred Gowaseb in December 2011 in Katutura, Windhoek. Goseb’s defence counsel Donald Lameck during submissions informed the court the State heavily relied on one witness statement of Henock Uirab who is the second victim in relation to the assault charge. Furthermore, the State did a sloppy job as they failed to call to the witness stand police officers who were at the crime scene and on this basis he argued his client should be acquitted on both charges. According to Uirab’s testimony, on December 3, 2011, he and the deceased were coming from the deceased’s home when they came across a certain Botijie. It is alleged the deceased and Botijie started fighting over the stove which was being loaded into Goseb’s truck. In an attempt to retain his stove Goseb allegedly pulled out a panga and chopped the deceased’s cheek with the panga. During the tussle Uirab too got injured and he sustained an injury to his arm. After the ordeal Goseb and Botijie drove off leaving the deceased bleeding heavily. The accused was arrested that same day by the police who were close by when the incident occurred. The deceased was then hospitalised but was pronounced dead a few hours later. Goseb has denied guilt to both counts, stating he was not around thus he did not cut the two victims. The State has dismissed Goseb’s version of events that he did not cut the deceased with a panga, thus he should be convicted on both charges. “A panga is a dangerous weapon and a reasonable person in the position of the accused would have foreseen that striking someone with a panga the person might die,” explained prosecutor Menencia Hinda.

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