New Era Newspaper

New Era Epaper
Icon Collap
Home / Amushelelo sues police after bistro arrest

Amushelelo sues police after bistro arrest

2023-01-13  Loide Jason

Amushelelo sues police after bistro arrest

A protest by workers of the Craft Bistro caused police to drag Michael Amushelelo away from the scene and arrest him, action that has caused the activist to sue the police.

The Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters' (NEFF) member, through his lawyer Kadhila Amoomo, demands compensation from the police for unlawful arrest, detention and assault. 

He is demanding N$750 000, of which N$500 000 is a remedy for pain and suffering, while N$250 000 is for unlawful arrest and detention. 

The arrest happened on Wednesday, following a commotion at a Windhoek café. 

Amoomo explained his client supported employees who claimed to be exploited. 

“Our client simply showed solidarity with workers being exploited. That is what led to his arrest. Our client was, however, injured during the arrest, and we managed to get him a medical examination,” he added.

The lawyer said the arrest of Amushelelo was carried out without any valid warrant of arrest – and if such a warrant was obtained, it was never shown to his client. 

“The subsequent detention of our client also stands to be characterised as unlawful due to the fact that our client was unlawfully arrested. The fact that our client was released without any charge drives home our point that the arrest was not only without reasonable cause but was also clearly carried out for ulterior motives, contrary to article 11 of the Namibian constitution,” read the urgent notice.

Amoomo said the police engaged in violent conduct against Amushelelo during the arrest. 

“Our client was aggressively wrestled and painfully assaulted by members of the police. We have video footage wherein a police officer can be seen assaulting our client, despite the absence of any resistance from him,” he wrote.

He emphasised that as a result of the assault, Amushelelo suffered serious injuries to his arm: he endured pain and suffered, while his dignity was violated. 

The lawyer also demanded the identity and full particulars of the members of the police who arrested Amushelelo to cite and institute proceedings against them.

The police are given 30 days to respond to the letter; failure to provide the lawyer with a satisfactory response will result in instituting proceedings against the inspector general of the Namibian Police as well as the government. 



The chairperson of Namibian Craft Centre, Stephan Loubser, yesterday emotionally described the conflict between the Craft Bistro café and its employees as saddening and affecting the entire centre. 

Loubser was seen sympathising with workers by assuring them that the management of the craft centre is trying to solve the matter amicably.

“The craft centre is about people, and what is happening here is keeping me upset. This situation is affecting the craft centre as a whole. It is so sad that our client could not resolve the conflict amicably; now it will affect us,” he added.

He indicated that the café will be closed until further notice. 

Loubser also called on workers to remain calm.

“We are not sleeping. We are monitoring the situation. However, we don’t want to get involved in the situation directly, as your bosses have a contract with us,” he told them. 

The workers who spoke to New Era described their bosses as abusive and racist, calling them derogatory names such as “rotten stinking pigs” and “stinky potatoes”.     

“That is what we go through daily, and we only tolerate it because we need a salary,” said the workers.

They also alleged unsafe working conditions and an uncaring attitude by the owners. 

They said a colleague almost lost her finger in a slicer, but she was treated only at work, as was stopped from going to hospital. 

“I lost a lot of blood that day, but I was never allowed to be treated by a professional nurse. I was further told not to inform my family,” a worker narrated.

The worker said on top of them tolerating the abuse and insults, their salaries were also cut, which led to the protests on Monday.



The workers yesterday told New Era that due to unfair treatment, they called in an activist to assist them to fight for their course. 

“We called Amushelelo because the bosses refused to talk to us. He did not cause any commotion. He also did not trespass on their property, as he was just within the craft centre – not in the café. Therefore, they are creating stories because they do not want other people to defend our matter,” said another worker, who spoke under anonymity.

The workers, who also feel unfairly treated by the police, said if they wanted to be impartial in the matter, they could have approached them for their statement as witnesses. 

“The police only listened to one side. We are the victims here, but they opt to listen to the suspect in the whole matter,” they said. 



The workers yesterday informed New Era that management had a meeting with labour inspectors, who resolved that employees get their salaries and report for duty as soon as they receive the money. 

The meeting also allegedly resolved that workers and employers meet next week to put the matter to rest.

Last year, Amushelelo and others were arrested on charges of public violence and incitement to commit an offence. 

He spent three months in jail before he was granted bail.

2023-01-13  Loide Jason

Share on social media