INDEPENDENT Patriots of Change (IPC) member Abed “Bishop” Hishoono sarcastically said he would be selling his teeth to raise the N$250 000 he was ordered to pay First Lady Monica Geingos in damages for defamatory remarks he made towards her.
Hishoono, who during the trial said he was unable to pay the N$350 000 Geingos was initially demanding for damages made the remarks briefly after the case was finalised by Judge Orben Sibeya.
Hishoono said he could not afford the N$350 000 as he still has loans to pay off, following his wedding last year in October. He has since been ordered to retract his statements and apologise within five days.
He in February 2020 posted a video on social media accusing Geingos of being part of a scheme responsible for the downfall of Air Namibia by having shares in West Air. He also claimed the first lady was given by James Hatuikulipi to president Hage Geingob o marry and accused her of being her girlfriend, saying the two have a child together. Hatuikulipi is on trial for on corruption charges in what is now known as the Fishrot scandal.
Geingos told the court that she and Hatuikulipi only went to university together, that the two also know each other because of their financial backgrounds.
Contrary to rumours that Hatuikulipi bought President Geingob’s wedding suit in London, Geingos clarified that as someone she knew, she had asked Hatuikulipi to bring along Geingob’s suit from London as he was already there at the time. The suit, she said was already paid for. Geingob and Hatuikulipi are not friends, she said.
Geingos confirmed that her father and Hishoono’s father are close friends, that before she instituted the lawsuit, she had approached him to apologise. Hishoono on Tuesday said his father would often be accommodated by Geingos’ father when he visited Oranjemund.
Judge Sibeya declared that the defamation is aggravated, that Hishoono’s motive was to score cheap political points.
“He was simply blowing hot air. He did not produce in court the apology he said he posted on social media for the court to consider it. He had no genuine intention to apologise and it aggravates the matter. He failed to demonstrate that the statements he made were in the public’s interest.
“The statements made are catchy, they are made to depict the plaintiff as a selfish, greedy person with zero interest to Namibian people,” Sibeya ruled.
Reacting to the judgment, Geingos’ lawyer Sisa Namandje told journalists that he was pleased the judge acknowledged the remarks were hurtful and aggravating.
“The judgment is also important in the sense that people have obligations to tame their tongue when they speak. For too long people have been defamed on social media platforms for no good reason whatsoever.
“We have cowards in Namibia who regard themselves as strong men just because they think they are free to say whatever they want. We will not allow a situation to go on where strong men on social platforms cannot face you but use social media to bully other people. A strong message has been sent and we will continue assisting those who are harmed by these toxic people,” Namandje said.