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Venaani: We are killing Mwilima in prison

2021-05-20  Kuzeeko Tjitemisa

Venaani: We are killing Mwilima in prison

Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani has once again implored the authorities to release 65-year-old Caprivi treason convict Geoffrey Mwilima on medical grounds.

Mwilima, who has been in jail for more than 21 years after his arrest in August 1999, is currently serving an 18-year prison term. 

He was convicted and sentenced in December 2015 of high treason, nine counts of murder and 90 charges of attempted murder over his involvement in a separatist movement that aimed to secede the Zambezi region (then Caprivi) from Namibia. 

In January this year, Mwilima lost his bid to be released on medical grounds after the High Court dismissed his application. In his affidavit, Mwilima informed the court that he is suffering from kidney failure, which necessitates dialysis treatment twice a week, diabetes and high blood pressure.

The High Court dismissed another application for his release on medical grounds this week. 

Judge Kobus Miller dismissed it and removed it from the roll, as there were no facts supporting the orders sought.  

“The medical practitioners who at various stages diagnosed and prescribed treatment for his condition were not
always in agreement, especially on the
issue of whether or not the applicant is eligible to be released on parole due to his medical condition,” said Miller. 

However, Venaani feels the former
DTA parliamentarian has a case for
him to be considered for parole. 

“I still maintain that Mwilima
should be released on medical grounds because if you look at the kind of diet that he receives, we are killing that man in prison,” he stressed.

“We respect the rulings of the courts, but there were two physicians of mine who said that man is really unfit to be there. So, you can’t have someone who is suffering from hypertension, kidney failure, who receives dialysis every
month and who is diabetic, in prison. These are all serious diseases affecting people. 

I would maintain that government should consider releasing him on medical grounds”, he added.Venaani said it is about time that government considers bringing the  matter to a close. “We should also take the matter into context that, really, after 20 years of that saga, can we still say we don’t want to bring reconciliation and move on and
close this chapter? I urge the president [Hage Geingob] to be the statesman, to be a leader who thinks beyond conflicts, and think of what we can do to bring this
matter to a logical conclusion,” he reiterated. 

Attempts to reach safety and security minister Albert Kawana proved futile as his phone was not reachable.  

Mwilima was found to have been part of the armed secessionist organisation in the former Caprivi region which conspired to overthrow the Namibian government in that region between the period of September 1998 and December 2003.  The group were said to have imported into Namibia armaments comprising cannons, machine guns, magazines and other military weapons for their planned forceful secession of the Caprivi strip at the time. 

2021-05-20  Kuzeeko Tjitemisa

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