THE Uukwambi Traditional Authority (UTA) has expressed doubt about the validity and fairness of the recent punishment of Nghishiikoh Joshua Nghishiikoh who was fined N$2,300 and had his water pump and donkey cart impounded by the Okapyakambidhi village headman after he [Nghishiikoh] was apprehended catching fish in a water pond without permission from the relevant authorities.
Nghishiikoh was on Monday busy pumping water from a pond to make it easy for himself to catch the abundant catfish, when he was approached by villagers who stopped him and accused him of stealing fish from elderly villager GwaDavid’s water pond.
The water pond is located in the middle of an oshana away from any homestead.
Those who stopped him ended up catching the fish for themselves before taking Nghishiikoh to the residence of headman Willem Kambuta who promptly gave him a fine of N$2,300 and impounded his water pump and his donkey cart.
The impounded property would be handed back to him upon payment of the fine on or before 31 July.
UTA spokesperson Reinhold Iita – who said that he learned about Nghishiikoh’s punishment only when people started inquiring about an Informanté news article – said that if things happened exactly as reported, then there is serious doubt about the validity and fairness of the whole process and the sentence might need a review.
“They impounded his water pump and donkey cart, took the fish for themselves and fined him N$2,300? Something is wrong somewhere,” he said, adding that traditional hearings have not yet resumed ever since they went on recession due to the countrywide lockdown.
However, Iita noted that it is up to Nghishiikoh himself to approach the UTA to request a fresh hearing.
Nghishiikoh, who is a self-employed horticulturist and political activist, said that the confiscation of his water pump is causing irreparable damage to his vegetable garden and orchard which were not watered for almost a week now.
“The hearing itself, which took place in Headman Kambuta’s homestead, was irregular. That places me in an awkward position. On the one hand, paying the fine immediately would be tantamount to recognizing ‘the fairness of a kangaroo court’. On the other hand, awaiting a review would be economic suicide because my vegetable garden and orchard would cease to exist and I would lose even the assistance that I receive from Government,” he said.