End in sight for Amupanda, Hinda suit

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End in sight for Amupanda, Hinda suit

The N$1 million legal battle between Affirmative Repositioning leader Job Amupanda and deputy finance minister Maureen Hinda-Mbuende over an alleged defamatory Facebook post is nearing an end in the Windhoek High Court.

On Wednesday, Judge Collins Parker postponed the matter to 6 June for closing arguments after the parties submitted their evidence.

Hinda-Mbuende sued Amupanda for defamation, claiming that his social media post on 28 July 2021 was defamatory, and caused damage to her reputation.

Amupanda allegedly posted a picture of a woman clad in jeans and a white t-shirt. 

The picture was accompanied by the wording, “It looks like deputy minister of finance Maureen Hinda during the liberation struggle. Maureen was soo WizWiz. It’s like she won’t think twice about taking a knife out!”.

Hinda-Mbuende claims the post was meant to be understood by the public that the woman in the picture in her youthful days was a street girl ready to fight at a moment’s notice.

She also claims the post is stereotypical in that her being Damara, she would not hesitate to stab anyone. 

In addition, the post is meant to be understood that she has no integrity, is a violent person capable of causing anyone bodily harm, is an uncouth woman who was of loose moral values during the liberation struggle, and is not a law-abiding citizen.

She further noted that the post paints her as a person who is unable to be trusted with public office, as she was violent and capable of causing bodily harm to someone.

Hinda-Mbuende also did not take lightly Amupanda’s other posts he made after she filed a suit against him.

In her amended notice, Hinda-Mbuende refers to his Facebook post on 19 January 2022, containing a picture of a newspaper article titled ‘Hinda sues Amupanda for N$1 million’.

The image was accompanied by a caption stating “The consequences of rejecting the sugar from the mommy!” 

On the same day, he allegedly took to Twitter and said, “It all started with rejecting the sugar for the mommy!”

On 20 January 2022, amongst other posts, Amupanda allegedly made another post, stating “Etondo lyaantu lyaNehale is not for sale”, accompanied by a newspaper posting.

Etondo lyaantu lyaNehale is a nickname Amupanda has given himself, referring to himself as a man of “testicular fortitude”.

Clinical psychologist Ute Sinkala, who is Hinda-Mbuende’s expert witness, said the deputy minister has professional support as she continues to cope and protect herself and her family, who suffer under the onslaught of the abuse and attack on her character.

She said Amupanda’s post still affects the deputy minister’s image and psychological well-being.

“The post went viral, and colleagues as well as the public have access to these posts. Loss of reputability severely impacted her reputation as a political leader. This has had and continues to impact her public persona,” she said.

Sinkala explained that Hinda-Mbuende is not able to escape the anxiety spurred by knowing that a simple internet search may tarnish her credibility and reputation.

“Subsequently, the impact trickled down to Ms Hinda’s personal life, impacting her closest family and friendship circles. Ultimately, what started with a single post significantly damaged her relationships, mental and physical health, as well as her overall quality of life,” said Sinkala.

In his defence, Amupanda claims he never intended to defame the politician but rather to show that Hinda-Mbuende participated in the liberation struggle of Namibia and was a fierce activist, determined, reliable and courageous, and would use any means available to fight for the liberation of Namibia.

He said his statement amounted to fair and reasonable historical commentary relating to her attributes during the liberation struggle. Amupanda, however, is adamant that Hinda-Mbuende made advances toward him during his time in the Swapo Party Youth League.

He said the version presented by Hinda-Mbuende is one-sided. 

He said the deputy minister is not defamed in any way and the suit is a result of him refusing her advances.