By Eliaser Ndeyanale
FORMER Swapo acting president Nathaniel Maxuilili’s brother, Keshii Pelao Nathanael (popularly known as Keshii), has revealed in his new book, ‘A journey to exile’ a detailed list of 58 people who were tortured and executed on suspicion of being South African spies.
Keshii- currently based in Sweden -writes that between 1975 and 1989 Swapo leadership in exile allegedly arrested, tortured and killed thousands of Namibians in several camps in Angola and Zambia.
In Angola people were detained at Minya base, Mungakwiyu, Etare, Ethiopia, Information Centre, Kilimanjaro and Security Centre. In Zambia, it was at Mwinilunga, Boroma, Concentration Camp, Oshatotwa, Mongu and Lusaka Central Prison, Central Base, Nambudwe Concentration and Nyango Camps.
While under detention, many people disappeared without trace and their whereabouts are still unknown till today.
Keshii writes that a large number of detainees were shot dead while some were killed indirectly through starvation. Severe torture caused some to become physically and mentally disabled, he adds.
A local human rights monitoring and advocacy organisation, NamRights, led by Phil ya Nangolo, has in the past called for the establishment of a truth and reconciliation commission (TRC) for Namibia, to holistically look into all past human rights violations by both apartheid South Africa and Swapo between 1966 and 1989.
Those featured by Keshii on the list of torturers are retired Lieutenant General Martin Shalli, a former People’s Liberation Army of Namibia military commander, whom according to Keshii was senior security agent at the time of the heinous acts. This week, Shalli confirmed having known Keshii, but challenges him to provide evidence of his utterances. “That’s absolute nonsense, he must give proof.”
Keshii, who is the first Swapo Youth League secretary, also placed former Information Minister Joel Kaapanda on his list. Kaapanda was apparently a security agent informer. Queried about the allegations last week, Kaapanda denied knowledge of the matter.
“I don’t know anything about that, also I don’t know who that person (Keshii) is,” he said.
Another prominent name on the list is that of Namibian ambassador to the United Nations Martin Andjaba. Andjaba also refused to speak on the issue saying. “I have not seen what Mr. Nathanael Keshii has written and I don’t comment on allegations.”
Others implicate include Solomon ‘Jesus’ Hauala, a former Namibian lieutenant general, struggle hero and first minister of defence late Maxton Mutongolume, Peter Mueshihange, former Oshikango constituency councillor, Usko Nambinga and former PLAN senior staff, Shaanika “Uno” Kanana.
Approached for comment Hauala responded: “I haven’t seen the book but when he (Keshii) wrote it, where did he write it from? Also, how many people have I killed and if that is the case who else witnessed me killing these people. These allegations are scary.”
Keshii also writes about how some elements in Swapo conspired to eliminate his brother (Maxuilili) who was perceived as a ‘problem’ to some powerful people in Swapo.
“In 1993, a reliable source contacted me and asked and asked if she could trust me with confidential information. She told me Maxuilili would be eliminated in a way that would look as either a normal car accident or another kind of accident because he had become a problem to some powerful people within the ranks of Swapo.
“On 23 June 1999, I received a telephone call from a close friend from Namibia, informing me that my brother had been involved in a serious road accident in Walvis Bay. Early the next morning he again called to inform me that my brother had passed on.
“I later received information that Maxuilili was admitted in Walvis Bay hospital and that he was to be transferred to another hospital in Cape Town, South Africa. Before he was taken to the Rooikop Airport, he had requested his closest kin to take another car to escort him and they did so.
“This was indeed a strange thing! On the way to the airport, the ambulance that was taking him had a head on collision with a truck. Maxuilili died instantly and was the only one who died in the accident,” Keshii narrates in his book.
Asked about Swapo’s alleged involvement in the death of Maxuilili, Swapo secretary general Nangolo Mbumba said he had not seen the book, hence he could not comment.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015