First Lady Monica Geingos will not enforce the High Court defamation judgement of 11 February 2021 against Abed Bishop Hishoono to pay damages of N$250 000, including her legal cost of up to N$400 000.
Hishoono was also ordered to tender an unconditional public apology to Geingos and to retract his defamatory and false statements.
The First Lady in a statement issued through her legal practitioners, Sisa Namandje & Co.Inc today said that she is convinced that Hishoono has ‘’now honestly, deeply and genuinely indicated that he has wrongfully violated my rights and that of my family, and he acknowledges that he had absolutely no factual basis for the toxic statements he made, I have decided upon careful consideration, not to enforce and execute the High Court judgement’’.
She said that the national reconciliation policy adopted by the founding fathers of this democracy requires Namibians to forgive one another and reconcile to keep and maintain social unity, cohesion and peace.
She said it is possible to forgive someone, yet hold him/her accountable for their actions. ‘’While I had long forgiven Mr Hishoono for his actions, I felt it necessary to hold him accountable through this lawsuit.’’
Also, she believes, that her decision not to execute the court order will ‘’avoid a situation of Mr Hishoono’s family and possibly children suffer the consequences of his wrongful conduct’’.
She said she saw a statement by Hishoono in the local media in which he seemed to be under ‘’distress and enormous pressure’’ and pleading for public to assist him to raise funds to pay for the suit and legal cost.
The First Lady further hopes that Hishoono becomes ‘’an ambassador for promoting responsible public debate and constructive engagement devoid of primitive and toxic content’’.
Geingos said that her decision to institute legal action against Hishoono was not out of desire to make money out of the litigation. ‘’Mine, from the beginning, has always been a resolve to fearlessly and firmly assert, protect and vindicate my rights where that were gravely violated by the highly false statements made by Mr Hishoono.’’
In her reading of the judgement, she has always reflected on the judge saying that it is difficult to quantify harm to reputation and dignity in monetary terms.
‘’It is not necessarily the damages awarded that vindicates the injury caused to the reputation and dignity of the plaintiff, but the judicial find in favour of the plaintiff,’’ part of the judgement reads, which the First Lady said, evoke complex emotions and deep sense of vindication in her, which no monetary award could substitute.
Hishoono is the Ohangwena mobiliser for the Independent Patriots for Change and made false statements over the First Lady’s alleged involvement in Fly Westair Aviation in a widely circulated video.
In the video he alleged that Geingos corruptly influenced the planned liquidation of Air Namibia to protect and advance her own economic interest in Westair.
Geingos revealed in her statement today that arrangements are being made for her to meet face-to-face with Hishoono in the new future.