Wednesday afternoon was the first time Pekakarua Sylvia Kaimu stepped foot onto her late daughter Cheryl Avihe Ujaha’s former school.
Avihe disappeared from her home in Herero Location, Katutura on a Sunday afternoon, only for her lifeless body to be found in a riverbed on the way to Khomasdal from Katutura – not far from the school she attended – mutilated.
Driving past the riverbed, Sylvia said that she is not ready to visit the place where daughter’s body was found.
“I do pass here a lot, I have no choice because I can’t tell the taxi not to drive this way”.
Her eyes start welling up as we cautiously approach the school gates with young boys and girls running around in the uniform she had seen her youngest daughter leave their home with, on many mornings. It is impossible to hold the tears back as we drive further into the school.
It has been seven months since Avihe’s death and the family say that they feel the police could certainly communicate more frequently and not be as quiet as they are, as to where they are with the investigations.
Sylvia’s older sister – Batseba Hengari – who is the principal at Avihe’s former school – told The Patriot that investigators are quiet, and often they read detail in the newspapers rather than getting it from the authority. This makes it hard to know what the truth is.
Sylvia said that the police had visited her on Wednesday morning and asked her to call several phone numbers that appeared on her cell phone record between 25 and 27 August.
Her sister, Batseba, said that ever since her daughter’s murder, a number of close male family members were taken for DNA testing. The family members included Avihe’s uncle and grandfather. Both women said that their father’s health had been severely affected by the gruesome murder of his granddaughter.
“There was no communication after the DNA testing. What the police are doing is not enough. It has been quiet for some time now and it is almost like it is becoming even more quiet now (sic).
It is always the family that has to enquire about the case,” Avihe’s aunt told The Patriot.
The family says that they only found out through the media that CCTV footage from a camera at the corner of Clemens Kapuuo and Independence Avenue had been obtained and viewed.
The family had hope for a breakthrough when a young man, who lives in the same street as Avihe’s Mum, told a group of socialising community members that he had played a part in the little girl’s death.
“He told the people that he did his part and that the other people finished it off. He also gave names,” the sister said. The man, according to the two sisters, was arrested after community members called the police immediately after he “confessed” to being part of the murder.
Sylvia said that the man was released after not enough evidence was found. The man allegedly told the police that he was drunk and that he was just joking.
“So my child’s murder is now a joke. One day that guy met me in the street and all he did was hold [cover] his face.”
With the family being aware of all the speculations and untrue reports doing the rounds regarding Avihe’s murder, Batseba told The Patriot that there is a sense of gross insensitivity from some community members and even the media.
She appealed to the public to think about the family and what they are going through before making accusations such as that of Avihe’s mother being involved in the murder of her own child.
“People must understand that we never had closure. People need to be sensitive when they approach this issue,” Batseba said.
Addressing the constant barrage of “fake news” on social media, Batseba said that they cannot help thinking that those starting the news may have something to do with the murder.
“Was it not enough that they brutally killed our little girl like that? Is the person posting these things not the same people who killed her? You already caused us the biggest pain and still want to go and say such things?” Batseba asked.
When asked whether they are living in fear, Batseba said that the family is not living in fear as they believe in God.
“It is like we are living in a vacuum. Just waiting.
Maybe God is delaying the process of the perpetrator being caught so that we could have healing by the time, they are caught,” Batseba told The Patriot.
She added that they will continue to wait knowing that they have the support of the Namibian nation, the church and the government.
“We know that the perpetrator will come out, might not be now but maybe later.”
Police Investigations Continue
Police spokesperson Deputy Commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi said that the police investigations are in full swing and that they are exploring all possible leads to apprehend the perpetrator.
Kanguatjivi told The Patriot that under normal circumstances the investigating officer should be in constant communication with the complainant, in this case the family.
“It could be that they are just very busy, but I know that the investigations are in full swing.”
As for the accusations, insensitive speculations and social media updates, the police spokesperson said that despite the challenges of the social media platforms also being accessed in other countries, they are definitely working on following the origins of the updates in order to explore whether those responsible for the posts are in any way involved in the crime.
He maintained that it is impossible for nobody to have seen anything.
The last time Sylvia saw her baby girl was just before she left her house to make food deliveries.
While there have been several different tales about Avihe’s last whereabouts, the most consistent one is that the little girl left her house to go look for her friend.
After returning home in the early afternoon, Sylvia did not find her daughter home and started looking for her.
Her disappearance still remains a mystery as nobody seems to have seen how she disappeared. It is as if she simply dissolved into thin air.
The Namibia Police are offering a reward of N$100 000 to anyone with information of who brutally murdered Cheryl Avihe Ujaha.