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Home / Rodman’s N$12 million Birmingham nightmare…PDM distances itself from councillor

Rodman’s N$12 million Birmingham nightmare…PDM distances itself from councillor

2022-07-29  Edward Mumbuu

Rodman’s N$12 million Birmingham nightmare…PDM distances itself from councillor

A scheme orchestrated by Katutura Central constituency councillor Vezemba Rodman Katjaimo for Namibians to attend the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England is on the brink of collapse and could see about 198 sports fanatics lose close to N$12.9 million. The games kicked off yesterday. 

They end on 8 August. 

Each participant forked out N$65 000 to cater for flight tickets, accommodation, food, pocket money and tracksuits bearing the national flag. 

It all started around February when Katjaimo, a sports journalist-turned-politician, invited interested parties to his office to persuade them to buy into his Birmingham dream.

Initially, each person was supposed to pay N$40 000 for the adventure. 

The amount, however, kept increasing until it hit N$65 000. This is attributed to fluctuating air ticket and hotel prices in England, the group was told.

The payment process varied. 

Some payments were done directly into Katjaimo’s personal account while others deposited into an account meant for the trip, New Era understands. 

However, when push came to shove, the plan’s credibility became questionable. The dream turned into a nightmare.

The participants say they have not received an iota of evidence on what their hard-earned money was spent on. 

On Tuesday, the first group comprising an estimated 21 people left Namibia. In their minds, Birmingham was the destination.

It was not to be, as their journey hit a sudden cul-de-sac in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates after immigration officials informed them that they don’t have the requisite documentation and background to attend an event of the Commonwealth Games’ stature.

They were told that most of them are from informal settlements and unemployed.  

This is suspect, because the officials argued that they could be using the games as a guise to seek asylum in England. 

On top of this, no bookings for accommodation in England were made for that group.

When they tried reaching Katjaimo, his phone went unanswered. 

At the time of writing, that group was in transit back to Namibia. 


On Wednesday evening, a group of angry participants gathered at the constituency office in Katutura, demanding answers. However, they were sent from pillar to post.

They wanted to find out if they, too, would suffer the same fate. Some demanded refunds, while others asked for proof of payment. 

They were hurling insults at Katjaimo and his team. 

As frustrations grew, tempers flared, eventually leading to Katjaimo being rushed into the office. The office was then locked, as the group continued milling around the building in confusion. 

Katjaimo told them things were not as they seemed, and that it was no longer guaranteed that all of them were eligible for the trip as they would first have to be screened by immigration officials, individually. 

The politician then informed the group that he selected 10 from the group, using a lucky draw system, who would fly with him on Thursday. 

“As a leader and organiser, why don’t you stay behind and sort this out first instead of leaving us behind? How did you select the 10 people, and why is there no transparency?” asked one of the would-be travellers.

This did not deter Katjaimo from going to the Hosea Kutako International Airport yesterday in an attempt to jet off to England. 


The group stopped him in his tracks, with the intervention of police chief Sebastian Ndeitunga.

Ndeitunga, who is in Rundu on official business, instructed Khomas commander Ismael Basson to get answers from Katjaimo. 

When New Era visited the police headquarters yesterday, Katjaimo was still giving his version of events to the police.

He, however, maintained that everything was above-board in an interview he gave on Wednesday evening. 

Katjaimo blamed technicalities and misunderstandings for the deportation of his first batch destined for Birmingham.

“They categorised these people as poor, and that they live in informal settlements. That is not true. These are people from decent backgrounds, whose only crime is patriotism and wanting to support their national team,” he stated. 

He continued: “As we speak, I even showed the British high commissioner to Namibia that we have about N$4 million in our account. This is money meant for our upkeep during the games. After that, we will return to Namibia.” 

All that was needed was for all participants to declare under oath that they are going for the Commonwealth Games, and that they will return home thereafter. 

The councillor dismissed claims that the real motive of the majority in his group is to go and claim asylum in England. 

“That is not true,” he said. 

It is also alleged that Katjaimo recently bought a Toyota Fortuner and a bull for N$70 000 at a recent auction, purportedly with funds that can be traced back to the Birmingham scheme.

When this was put to him, he brushed it off with a laugh. 

Payback time

Speaking to this paper on Thursday, group representative Karitondo Metirapi, who is wheelchair-bound, expressed disappointment in Katjaimo. 

Metirapi is a diehard sports fan. He was among the few Namibians who witnessed first-hand Ricardo Mannetti’s Brave Warriors’ triumph in the Cosafa Cup in 2015. 

It is the same passion that led him to spend N$65 000. He was supposed to fly yesterday. 

“He has our money. He must just pay us in full. If there are penalties from the cancellation of flight tickets, it is fine, we will take the punch. He must also give us evidence that he really spent our money on the things he claims,” the group leader said. 

Failure to heed their call, he said, will lead to them opening embezzlement cases against Katjaimo. 

However, the councillor revealed a clause in the agreement with the touring party, which stated that there was to be no refund unless the Games are called off.


Meanwhile, the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), Katjaimo’s political home, distanced itself from the scheme. 

“The PDM as a party was not involved in this. He did this in his capacity as constituency councillor. Our investigation is ongoing as we are on a fact-finding mission,” PDM’s secretary for international relations Vipuakuje Muharukua said. 

According to PDM sources, its president McHenry Venaani has instructed party secretary general Manuel Ngaringombe to determine the veracity of the matter, and whether disciplinary measures should be instituted against Katjaimo. 

Efforts to get comment from the British High Commissioner to Namibia, Linda Scott, proved futile.

Photo: Edward Mumbuu

2022-07-29  Edward Mumbuu

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