Startling details of widespread harassment of Swapo supporters by security forces were presented in the Windhoek Supreme Court this week. The case has prompted South West African Territorial Force and Police chiefs to take the extraordinary step of agreeing to issue instructions to their members "to refrain from unlawfully interfering" with Swapo supporters' election campaigning.
In a landmark out-of-court agreement following an urgent court application on behalf of members of Swapo and the Namibian National Students' Organisation, the SWATF officer commanding and the commissioner of Swapo undertook to send the warning by communique to all their members as a matter of urgency. Among the claims made in the court papers is that the notorious Koevoet counterinsurgency unit is still in effective operation, despite widely publicized claims that it had been disbanded.
The claim is made by men who were members of Koevoet until the middle of February this year. It is also alleged, in an affidavit by a former police informer, that only last month Swapo members initiated an abortive attempt to blow up a car belonging to the acting vice-president of Swapo, Chief Hendrik Witbooi. Swapo activists from northern Namibia also paint a detailed picture of extra-legal security force activity aimed at Swapo sympathisers.
The most astonishing evidence emerged from the affidavits of Paulus Davids and Petrus Joseph, former guerrillas in Swapo's military wing, the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (Plan). After their capture by the security forces in the early 1980's, both were "turned" and became members of Koevoet. They claim they were among some 25 ex-guerillas in the Swapo unit…
This article originally appeared in the Weekly Mail.