WINDHOEK - Outspoken land activist, Job Amupanda and the Minister of Justice Sackey Shanghala have decided to bury the hatchet and settle the lawsuit in which the minister sought to sue the youthful academic for N$500 000 in damages for defamation.
Details of the settlement are not known, but New Era understands it entails that Shanghala will drop the suit and each party will pay its own legal costs. The settlement agreement will be made an order of court today when they appear for a scheduled status hearing.
Shanghala sued Amupanda over several comments on social media in which he called the then Attorney General “corrupt” and also about comments he made during the attorney generals symposium in Doha, Qatar, where Amupanda was also in attendance.
At the symposium, Amupanda posed questions to the panel and in the process said the people of Namibia are shocked that the Namibian attorney general is not a practicing attorney, and thus not subject to the rules of practice and ethical conduct pertaining to practicing legal practitioners.
He also told the gathering that Shanghala engaged UK lawyers regarding the Herero/Nama genocide matter against Germany. Amupanda apparently further said the lawyers so engaged pretended to work for 23 hours whilst it was biologically impossible to do so.
Amupanda also posted a picture on his twitter account of Shanghala and Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah with the caption: “My son, haven’t you stolen (sic) enough? Please my son, it’s enough. Don’t steal anymore. If imaginations could become truth.”
He again on November 20, last year posted “Sakeus Edward Shanghala: An epitome and symbol of corruption in Namibia” on his Facebook account.
Shanghala then lodged the lawsuit in March this year and Amupanda opposed the suit and came out with guns blazing, saying that the tenure of Shangala as AG was “marred by direct, persistent and serious allegations of corruption and maladministration by the media, members of the public and public commentators”.
As such, Amupanda said, he merely served as the conveyer of such allegations. According to him, as a social justice activist, he has assumed a public duty to speak out against corruption and expose all instances of maladministration and corruption. “As a result of the aforesaid on a daily basis, the members of the public call upon the defendant (Amupanda) as their voice against corruption and to speak out in instances and cases of corruption and maladministration, particularly when such involves public and political functionaries such as the plaintiff (Shanghala),” Amupanda stated in an affidavit filed with the High Court.
The activist further said that it is public knowledge that corruption in the public sector of Namibia has been a corrosive element and has greatly contributed to the eradication of public confidence in public institutions and government agencies. It is further common knowledge that Shanghala’s name has resonated in many controversial and corruption scandals, this outcome of this action proceeds beyond and is broader than a defamation action, Amupanda said and continued: “This action concerns the fight against corruption in general and the importance of academic freedom and freedom of expression in the fight against corruption in particular.”
He said due to various direct allegations of corruption, maladministration and incompetence by the media, members of the public, cartoonists, public academic intellectuals, commentators, newspaper article contributors, and certain senior public officials, Shangala during his relative short tenure as AG, did not enjoy a good public reputation or estimation other than that he was perceived as corrupt.
He thus deny categorically that the publication of the statements could have lowered the estimation of Shanghala in the eyes of the public and further denies that Shangala enjoyed any reputation among right-thinking Namibians such as could reasonably be lowered by the publication of the statements in question.
De Klerk Horn and Coetzee Inc are representing Shanghala, while Amupanda is represented by Kadhila Amoomo Legal Practitioners.
2018-09-06 09:09:10 9 months ago