First Lady Monica Geingos says false statements made by Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) member and northern-based teacher Abed ‘Bishop’ Hishoono, in a widely circulated video, were meant to score cheap political points.
Geingos filed a N$350 000 defamation lawsuit against Hishoono for producing and sharing a video in which he allegedly made “false suggestions, innuendos, insinuations [or] statements” about her.
In the video, Hishoono alleges the First Lady corruptly influenced the planned liquidation of Air Namibia to protect and advance her own economic interests as she is a shareholder of Westair Aviation and was instrumental in its establishment.
Hishoono further alleges in the video that Geingos has a son with one ‘Hatuikulipi’, who is currently in prison. He went on to say Geingos’ marriage to the head of State Hage Geingob was arranged by ‘Hatuikulipi’.
Testifying yesterday in the High Court before Judge Orben Sibeya, the First Lady indicated that Hishoono was careless and had no regard for her feelings, reputation, dignity or family when he made the false statements.
She also noted that Hishoono is insinuating that her marriage to Geingob was not of own choice.
The statements did not only hurt her reputation and dignity, but have also caused a threat to her security.
“It appears that he only made the concerned statements in order to score cheap political points at the expense of my dignity and reputation,” said Geingos.
She added that at the time of the video, Namibians were generally angry about the liquidation of the national airline, and she feared for her safety and that of her family.
On the allegations that her son is fathered by James Hatuikulipi, Geingos strongly denied ever having had a sexual relationship nor sharing a child with him.
“The paternity of my children has never been a matter of question. My children know who their father is, and they have a relationship with him,” stressed Geingos.
She further explained that she knows Hatuikulipi because they went to high school and university together, and through business circles.
Thus, as a personal favour to her, she asked Hatuikulipi, who was already in London, to bring along her husband’s wedding suit, which was already paid for.
Geingos indicated under oath that Geingob and Hatuikulipi have never been friends.
She said her husband knows of Hatuikulipi only because he (Geingob) was friends with his late father, Tauno Hatuikulipi.
Geingos said she respects the rights to freedom of speech, and as such she has taken in a lot over the years.
However, this was the first time her children were attacked directly and as a mother, she has a duty to protect them.
“It is not about money. This is a case of a mother defending her child, a woman defending her dignity and a businesswoman defending her reputation… I will vigorously defend the rights of my children against anyone,” said Geingos.
On the apology tendered through social media by Hishoono, Geingos said she does not accept it.
She said it was not genuine, and Hishoono further tried to defame her character.
She said because she knows and respects Hishoono’s father, Kanana Hishoono, a former Swapo Party Elders’ Council secretary, she called and apologised to him before suing his son.
Hishoono opted to represent himself during the proceedings. He admitted to having recorded and shared the video on one of his WhatsApp groups.
He further explained that he and his group members were not targeting anyone, and were simply discussing a topic that was circulating at the time.
“It was not deliberately or consciously done. It just happened. It was just a discussion that went too far,” said Hishoono.
He added that he fell victim to rumour-mongering by repeating what was being said in the public sphere.
Despite admitting that his actions were wrong, Hishoono questioned the First Lady on why she only singled him out and filed a lawsuit against him.
The matter is set to continue tomorrow for closing arguments.