ONANKALI – An elderly woman from Onankali area was on Wednesday slapped with a fine of N$1 200 by the Ondonga Traditional Authority’s Onankali South District for defamation of character and rumour-mongering.
Maria (NangombeNene) Shimbingo was found guilty for spreading unsubstantiated rumours and for defamation of character, after she in January accused a businesswoman Selma Angula of having sold poisoned alcohol following the death of a female patron three days after she consumed a traditional brew bought from Ngoka cuca shop owned by Angula.
Angula summoned Shimbingo to seek recourse and clear her name.
Shimbingo who is seemingly in her 80s, had created a story around the village suggesting that the death of Frieda Imdondi was a result of alcohol poisoning, after she was seen drinking at Ngoka on January 6, and fell sick the next day before her untimely death on January 9.
Shimbingo and Imdondi are not related. The death certificate seen by New Era indicates the cause of death is “unknown”. The deceased’s sister Selma Kamati in her testimony informed the court they were not involved in the squabbles as the family accepted what had happened. “We as a family know for a fact that the deceased was told by doctors to stop her excessive drinking and quit alcohol, but she apparently ignored the medical advice.”
“We were also surprised to hear that someone is being blamed for her death,” added Kamati. The deceased’s father was also present.
“I came around 11h00 at the bar and I found the deceased drinking with others, and that was the last time I saw her. I just heard of the death two days later. I was surprised to hear rumours afterwards that she died because I had poisoned her. Which is not true and far from the truth,” stated the complainant Angula, as she sought recourse.
“All I want is for Nangombe to tell us where she heard this poisoning story and to prove it. I want to know, because I want to clear my name as my image has been dragged into the mud,” added a visibly aggrieved Angula, in the attendance of families and community members.
In her defence, Shimbingo vehemently denied having spread the rumours saying she also overheard people at Cunene Africa discussing the mystery surrounding Imdindo’s death before she was approached by two others inquiring about the same issue.
“I was on my way from Nampost when I met people discussing at Cunene, but I said nothing. I moved to another cuca shop where I met a certain woman who inquired and I told her what I heard people talking about at Cunene,0 insinuating that Imdondi was poisoned at Ngoka,” she explained.
“When I got to Agriculture, a certain woman asked me and I said the same thing. I was not the originator of the story – people were the ones asking and I just had to say what I heard,” she said in her defence.
After hearing arguments from both parties, the traditional court fined Shimbingo N$700 for defamation and N$500 for rumour-mongering, although she pleaded innocent on all charges, arguing that she also heard the rumour, but failed to say from whom she heard the allegation.
The defendant thereafter apologised to the complaint. “I am apologising even though deep in my heart I know I am not the creator of that story. I am sorry for all the damage my remarks have caused, please forgive me in the name of Jesus,” pleaded Shimbingo.
Her apologies were however rejected by Angula who said they were not satisfactory and convincing.
Traditional councillors Nafuka Mupupa, Kristofina Mbango, Kandali Nashandi, David Nambuli and Nikanor Kandjeke presided over the matter.