When he discovered that the man whom he has been friends with for 39 years has died, veteran political scribe Asser Ntinda could not fathom the fact that he will never again see his friend Paulus ‘Bishop’ Tshilunga, describing him as an intelligent, professional and kind person.
Tshilunga, a founding member of the Namibian Central Intelligence Services(NCIS) in 1990, was a senior manager in the spy agency. He was accused of embezzling at least N$17 million from the service and was found dead outside Windhoek this week, with unconfirmed reports suggesting that he committed suicide.
“I was really shocked when I learned about his death on Tuesday. I just couldn’t believe it. Throughout our friendship, he never seemed the kind of person who would commit suicide. He has gone through too many difficulties and hardships during the struggle and after independence for him to end his life in that manner,” said Ntinda.
To his friends, Tshilunga was “a very kind person who was always full of smiles, very friendly and easy-going.”
“He was very intelligent, brilliant and very professional in his work. He was a very loyal and dedicated combatant of the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia, PLAN,” Ntinda said.
“I met Paulus Tshilunga in December 1979 in Lusaka, Zambia and we have been friends since then. We were very close friends, so close that he named one of his children after me. I was also one of his best men at his wedding. I will forever treasure our friendship. Hardly a day would pass without us meeting or calling each other. He would drive to my house without even calling me to check whether I was at home or not,” said an emotional Ntinda.
He added: “If he didn’t find me at home, he would then call me and just laugh, saying “I thought I would find you at home. Okalimba nde keende komushila.” (Meaning he has missed the target.) And he would drive where I was at that time.”
Ntinda said in their younger years, they worked together for several years at the Defence Headquarters in Lubango, Angola, until they returned to Namibia in 1989.
“Our years in Lubango further strengthened our friendship.”
According to Ntinda, as a PLAN combatant, Tshilunga never refused to carry out any assignment that Swapo or PLAN entrusted him with.
“In every discussion or debate we had on any issue, be it social or political, Tshilunga would always say “I want to die a happy man.” And he will talk and talk, trying to convince you. It really was his wish to “die a happy man.” Sadly, and as fate would have it, he didn’t really die a happy man he had wished he would die. It was a sad end,” narrated Ntinda.
“But when the last hour strikes, there is nothing we can do. We have to accept fate as it comes. I will miss him dearly. I attended his father’s funeral this year, and he also attended my mother’s funeral two months ago.
My condolences to his family and the children. Everything has come, to pass. This dark cloud will clear away,” Ntinda concluded. Senior Special Assistant to the Founding President John Nauta, also a friend of Tshilunga, described his friendship with the late spy boss as a “cordial one”.
“We have been friends since 1993 and we shared many things, from politics, government and social affairs.
Like others, we would also argue on issues we do not agree on and we learned a lot from each other. Of course we had weaknesses like everybody else but we always advised each other,” Nauta said briefly.
Tshilunga will be buried next weekend at his home village at Oshandumbala in the Oshana Region.
Tshilunga appeared in the Windhoek Magistrate’s in camera Court facing 78 charges of fraud, money laundering, theft and corruptly using his office/position for gratification.78 charges of fraud and corruption.
He was released on N$40 000 bail and was due in court on 18 October 2018 again.
He was one of the top five in the service’s hierarchy.
Information at hand indicate that the official committed the heinous crimes between 2003 and 2011.
The case was opened in 2013 with case no CR 216/10/2013. According to information available, the investigation is complete with the prosecution sanctioned by the Prosecutor General. It remains unclear why his arrest took as long as five years.
According to Nampol, the incident took place alongside the Daan Viljoen road, about 2km from the Daan Viljoen police road traffic checkpoint.
“It is alleged that Paulus Tshilunga (56 years old) committed suicide by shooting himself with a shotgun to the head while he was seated in a Toyota Land Cruiser double cab,” the police report said. According to the report, the motive was not known, and there was no suicide note left.
“A police officer who lives in the Daan Viljoen area observed the abandoned vehicle parked along the road since yesterday[Monday].
This morning[Tuesday], upon closer look, he discovered the deceased and alerted the relevant personnel, who were dispatched to the scene,” the police statement read.
The firearm used was confirmed to be privately owned and police investigations continue, the report added.