Amushelelo arrested and detained again

Stefanus Nashama

In his quest to advocate for over 100 suspended retail employees at the Oshakati-based Rani Group, social activist Michael Amushelelo found himself under arrest once again by the Namibian Police Force yesterday.

His legal representative, Kadhila Amoomo, confirmed the arrest, describing it as an apparent political witch-hunt.

Amoomo said that Amushelelo does not pose a flight risk and could have been summoned to court if he had violated any court orders.

The lawyer accused the police of neglecting their duty to enforce the law where it is needed most. He went further to suggest that the police appear to act as if they were protecting foreign-owned businesses that exploit innocent citizens in their own homeland.

“The police seem incapable of apprehending the culprits responsible for the deaths of Avihe and Magdalena Stoffells up to this date. Instead, they squander state resources by appearing as protectors of foreign-owned businesses that exploit our people’s labor,” the lawyer commented.

While the exact details of his client’s arrest remained unclear, it appeared to be related to a labor hiring issue.

Amoomo urged the Oshana Police Regional leadership to handle the matter with caution, considering its significance to the majority of the country’s population.

It is alleged that Amushelelo acted against a court order that mandated him and his political party, the Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters (NEFF), to stay at least 400 meters away from the Rani Market premises in December.

Contrary to these allegations, Amoomo insisted that his client did not violate any laws, and if he had, he should face the court rather than being subjected to arrest and detention.

These reported court orders followed two demonstrations by NEFF against alleged unfair labor practices at Rani shops nationwide.

In December of the previous year, Amushelelolo attempted to shut down one of the Rani markets in Windhoek in solidarity with the suspended employees in Oshakati.

He was later asked by the police to present himself at Wanaheda Police Station and was subsequently released with a warning.

Amushelelo has faced multiple arrests and detentions for his involvement in organizing protests and shutting down businesses, including Chinatown.

Reacting to the matter, Deputy Leader of the NEFF, Iipumbu Kalimbo, stated that those who continue to exploit the impoverished cannot intimidate them any longer. He indicated that they are ready for any challenges and believe in the professionalism of the courts.

“We are Namibian, and we are prepared for anything. We cannot be intimidated by those who seek to exploit our people. Our courts have proven their professionalism, and Michael has committed no wrongdoing. You will soon see him free and continuing to represent the underprivileged,” he said.

In a similar vein, the leader of NEFF, Epafras Mukwiilongo, raised concerns about the Labor Hire System last year, expressing discomfort with the practices.
He argued that the system merely perpetuates the exploitation of workers who receive meager wages for their labor in an independent Namibia.

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