Tuesday, July 31, 2007

ICC asked to investigate Nujoma

The Nambian Society of Human Rights (NSHR) recently asked the International Criminal Court to investigate former president Sam Nujoma. The group accuses Nujoma and others of being responsible for the deaths of thousands of people during the independence war against colonial South Africa., which ruled Namibia at the time.

The NSHR said it had evidence that bodies were pushed down a deep crevasse near the border with Angola.

The petition calls for Mr Nujoma and three others to be investigated for "instigation, planning, supervision, abetting, aiding, defending and or perpetuating" the disappearances of some 4,200 people.


Nujoma seemed unperturbed by all this. At a regional conference of the ruling SWAPO party (the former liberation movement), he called on Namibians to 'Let Swapo rule forever'.

However, this did not meet with unanimity even among the party faithful, according to The Namibian newspaper.

"This is not how democracy works," a source close to the Swapo national leadership told The Namibian after the opening. "A vibrant democracy has room for other political parties. One cannot say Swapo will always win."

Unlike in nearby Zimbabwe, Namibia is ruled by a party, not a man. SWAPO courageously blocked efforts by Nujoma to rig the constitution to allow the father of the nation to serve as president-for-life. Though some believe that Nujoma is angling for a return to power once the term of the incumbent Hifikepunye Pohamba expires, a plan that would certainly be hindered by an ICC prosecution.

Update: Almost as if to give credence to the accusations about how the then-guerilla organization was run, the secretary-general of SWAPO allegedly made a death threat against the head of the human rights' group who called on Nujoma to be investigated.

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