Magistrate Masule Kwezi, who presided over the formal bail application of Michael Amushelelo and Dimbulukeni Nauyoma has rejected the application in remanded the two in jail until their next court appearance on 5 July.
Kwezi has squashed the hopes of the two, who have been in custody since May 13, as well as that of their sympathisers who were fighting tooth and nail for them to be released on bail., by objecting to granting of bail.
The Namibia Economic Freedom Fighter commissar Michael Amushelelo and Affirmative Repositioning Movement (AR)’s activist, Dimbulukeni Nauyoma did not know what was coming their way when Kwezi said the pair cannot be granted bail because they are facing serious charges and he fears they might commit other crimes once released on bail.
Kwezi further argued that the accused already have pending cases and were out on bail, therefore granting them the freedom to attend trial from outside, does not have any guarantee that they may not reoffend. He also said, the court could not find proper bail conditions to be imposed when granting bail.
The duo has so far spent 11 days in police custody, and will in total spend 51 days until their next court appearance on July 5. Six others including Amushelelo’s wife Julieta and NEFF president Epafras Mukwiilongo, who were arrested and released on a warning on the same day and remain free.
They are charged with public violence, incitement to commit public violence as well as assault through threat. These charges emanate from the protests held by both accused between 12 and 13 May in the vicinity of China Town, where they mobilised masses to close down all Chinese businesses.
Their action was in retaliation to Namibia Revenue Agency (NamRA) which had earlier destroyed goods worth N$5 million which was confiscated from the public alleging they are counterfeit.
Meanwhile, the NEFF vowed to stage nationwide protests to show solidarity with the accused.
“Our justice system is partial in its administration, and it is wrong by denying our people bail. Therefore, we shall continue with our mass protests until our plight is heard,” said NEFF’s Kalimbo Iipumbu, shortly after the court session.
He was directing the masses to match to China Town to demand the closure of all Chinese business, while similar protests are called for across the country.
Rui Tyitende an analyst, said he expected the masses to protest to illustrate their solidarity with the pair and mobilize people to register their discontent with the political elite, the Chinese business community and other agencies of the State such as NamRa.
“The question is will they continue to demonstrate until their trial commences on the 5th of July 2022, or will it be a once-off event? What will they do if the court pronounces a guilty verdict and a prison sentence? What will be the next step? More protests?” asked Tyitende.
“We are living in challenging times and I am worried about the government’s dangerously complacent attitude to the increase in unemployment and youth restlessness. There appears to be no urgency in resolving the country’s biggest problems of mass poverty, inequality and alarming levels of violence, especially in the informal settlements,” the analyst added.
In terms of the administration of justice, he said, Namibia’s judiciary remains to a large extent independent. However, he’s of the view that, one would understand why certain segments of society would perceive the judgement from a political lens.
“After all, there are political parties and social movements at the forefront of this protest and the judiciary remains a central organ of the state,” he said.