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Sunday 18 November 2018
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Are politicians overprotected by the law?

The conviction of Tobie Aupindi in the Windhoek Magistrates court means that he will have to resign from all directorships he holds in any company, privately or government owned.
This is because section 225 of the Company’s Act in Namibia disqualifies anyone convicted from being a director in a company.
This applies to “any person who has been convicted, whether in Namibia or elsewhere, of theft, fraud, forgery or uttering a forged document, perjury, an offence under any law for the prevention of corruption, or any offence involving dishonesty or in connection with the promotion, formation or management of a company, and has been sentenced to imprisonment without the option of a fine or to a fine to the equivalent of or exceeding N$1000”.
This also means that Aupindi is automatically disqualified from being a trustee in any trust. He will also not be allowed to hold an executive or key position in any company or entity regulated by Bank of Namibia and Namfisa.
Magistrate Helvi Shilemba’s judgment will however not prevent Aupindi to hold office as a member of the National Assembly and ultimately holding a Cabinet portfolio.
This will be entirely a call in the hands of state and ruling party President Hage Geingob because Article 47 of the Namibian Constitution only disqualifies someone from being an MP if they were sentenced to jail for longer than 12 months without an option of a fine.
Aupindi is both a member of the Swapo Politburo and Central Committee, adding to the fact that the ruling party publicly defended the convicted liar through its secretary general by branding the conviction unfair.
The party also, in 2015, allowed MP Marina Kandumbu, who is a corruption convict to take up a seat in the National Assembly using the same constitutional provision. Although in Geingob’s defense, he was coerced and perhaps emotionally blackmailed.
At the time Geingob and the Swapo top four initially disqualified Kandumbu from being sworn into Parliament.
They later succumbed to political pressure, after party members from the Kavango regions insisted that Kavangos were being purged out of the party and were not represented on the national level.
This is perhaps where Geingob is different from his predecessor Hifikepunye Pohamba.
Pohamba made no secret that he at least attempted to protect the government and Swapo’s image from being associated with corruption and dishonesty. In 2005 Pohamba fired Paulus Kapia from the position of deputy works minister just months after he appointed him.
Kapia was also removed from his position in the National Assembly and was barred from attending party events and activities.
This was because of Kapia’s involvement in the SSC/Avid N$30 million saga. Interestingly at the time of the decision, Kapia had not yet been formally charged for any crime, but the association to the controversy proved enough for Pohamba to act. Kapia was eventually found guilty and convicted to a fine more than ten years later.
Pohamba again during December 2010 suspended his long time Special Assistant Titus Ainima.
The fact that Ainima has been Pohamba’s aid from when Pohamba was lands minister, did not save him from getting the boot. Pohamba suspended Ainima indefinitely after the aid was arrested in the Kavango region in connection with 14 stolen cattle having been found on his farm.
Ainima reported to the police in the then Kavango region upon the realization that police were investigating him in connection with the stolen livestock.
After he was released on bail, Pohamba wasted no time in giving him the marching orders pending the outcome of his criminal case.
Pohamba made it clear that the highest office in the country cannot have an employee, in a position of public trust, who has a criminal case hovering over their head.
Just this week, education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, is attending court.
She is on trial to answer to criminal charges that she abused




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