Detainees acquitted after the long-running Caprivi treason trial lived in fear of being rearrested after the Prosecutor General decided to appeal against the court ruling. There was a high incidence of gender-based violence, including rape, against women and girls. Violations of the right to freedom of expression continued.
Despite calls for the introduction of a universal basic income grant after a successful pilot project, the government announced its intention to introduce food banks in urban and peri-urban areas, failing to address widespread extreme poverty in rural areas.
Forty-two released Caprivi detainees – accused of treason after their arrests in 1999 and acquitted between 2013 and 2015 – continued to live in fear after facing threats and intimidation. On 17 May, they were notified that the Prosecutor General would appeal against their acquittals.
The Vice Chairperson of the Caprivi Concerned Group (CCG), Retief Kangongo, went missing on 30 April following alleged threats by the Inspector General of the Namibian police. The CCG supported the acquitted detainees. Retief Kangongo reportedly sought asylum in Botswana.
In August, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of Boster Mubuyaeta Samuele, one of the Caprivi detainees. He had fled to Bostwana, and, in December 2002, he was abducted by Namibian security forces in Botswana and brought to Namibia to face trial. He then spent 13 years in prison. Boster Mubuyaeta Samuele successfully argued that the Namibian courts had no jurisdiction to prosecute him since Namibian officials had violated international law when he was abducted and arbitrarily detained.
Freedom of expression
On 15 April, two Japanese journalists employed by Japan’s television group Asahi were briefly detained by Namibian security forces soon after interviewing the Deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah at the Hosea Kutako International Airport. The journalists interviewed the Deputy Prime Minister in connection with a munitions factory being built by nationals of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) in Namibia. Their cameras and laptops were confiscated by Namibian security forces.
Violence against women and girls
Gender-based violence, including rape, against women and girls continued at a high rate as the government failed to address the problem adequately.
For example, on 20 June, Janet Haoes was strangled with electric wire, stabbed several times and hit with a hammer by her partner in the Otjomuise suburb of the capital, Windhoek. On 26 August, the body of Rosina Gaoses, who was pregnant, was found in the riverbed in the Dolam suburb of Windhoek. The body showed signs that she had been raped before being murdered.
Although the Namibian police initiated some investigations into cases of gender-based violence, efforts to eradicate violence against women and girls remained inadequate.