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Government settles Operation Kalahari lawsuit

2022-03-16  Roland Routh

Government settles Operation Kalahari lawsuit

Government, in particular the minister of home affairs and immigration (previously minister of safety and security) has agreed to settle a lawsuit instituted against them for an Operation Kalahari incident on 5 October 2019.

The lawsuit was instituted by Ester Shikongo – owner of Midnight Express, operating Club Thriller in Katutura’s Gemengde location – and her business partner Given Egumbo after the police and army in a combined raid stormed the business premises and allegedly assaulted both.

The government, through the office of the Attorney General, opposed the suit.

Shikongo and Egumbo claimed a combined N$1 million in damages, but in the end settled for N$50 000

Papers filed with the court by her lawyer Kadhila Amoomo stated that members of Operation Kalahari unlawfully and without any justification trespassed and interfered with the running of the Midnight Express business consisting of a bakery, restaurant, supermarket and bar by storming into the bar area in full view of patrons; demanding and causing the closure of the business without any lawful justification; and insulting and interfering with the patrons, and demanding that they vacate the business without any lawful

“As a result of the aforementioned conduct of the members of the Namibian Police and the Namibian Defence Force, the defendant (minister) unlawfully trespassed and interfered with the running of plaintiff’s business, and further thereby caused damage to the reputation of the business in that the conduct of the defendant transpired in full view of the patrons of the plaintiff’s business, and in this regard send out a message that her business is a criminal operation which should be shut down by law-enforcement officers”. 

Shikongo further claimed that she was assaulted by the uniformed members, and that the assaults took place in full view of the public, which was embarrassing and traumatising. 

She claimed that as a result of the unlawful conduct by the defendant’s members, she suffered damages in the amount of N$700 000.

Egumbo claimed that he suffered damages in the amount of N$300 000 after he was assaulted by both members of the police and army in full view of the patrons of the

In their defence, government stated that they responded to a noise complaint at the business premises. Upon their arrival there, one of their members was assaulted by one of the patrons inside the club. 

Immediately after the assault, government claimed, the assailant escaped into a room behind the club’s premises and in their pursuit of the assailant, were obstructed by Shikongo, leading to the assailant evading arrest. 

They claim, therefore, that their attendance at the business premises and their conduct was lawful and justifiable and well within their duties, and as such does not constitute trespassing. 

With regards to the assault charges, they deny each and every allegation, and put the plaintiffs to the proof thereof.

Windhoek High Court Judge Nate Ndauendapo made the settlement an order of the High Court.

He also ordered government to pay each plaintiff N$25 000 towards the costs of the lawsuit.

Ronald Ketjijere represented the minister.

2022-03-16  Roland Routh

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