NCS refutes Amushelelo’s hunger strike claims

The Namibian Correctional Service (NCS) has strongly refuted claims that social activist Michael Amushelelo who is currently detained, is on a hunger strike.

Windhoek Correctional Facility Officer-in-Charge, Deputy Commissioner Veikko Armas told Nampa on Thursday that officials have engaged Amushelelo and he has confirmed that he is not on a hunger strike. This is despite Amushelelo taking to social media to express that he has embarked on a hunger strike “to fight for his freedom”.

Amushelelo has been in detention since March this year, for allegedly going against a court order disallowing him to protest against unemployment, on Namibia’s Independence Day. He was arrested alongside Popular Democratic Movement Member of Parliament, Inna Hengari and social activist Dimbulukeni Nauyoma. The State has since withdrawn the charges against Hengari.

Amushelelo, in his post, expressed disappointment in those he fights for, saying he has come to the realisation that his life means nothing to them, or else they would be in front of the prison gates every day, demanding that he be released.

Armas said the facility is shocked to have read the news on social media.

“Mr Amushelelo is not on hunger strike at all. The facility is shocked to read such news on social media. Inmates are not allowed to post on social media while incarcerated, we do not know how it was done unless someone else is doing it on his behalf. During visiting time, visitors are not allowed to enter the facility with devices and we are sure that he does not have any electronic device in his position, which he could have used to post the article. We are busy investigating the matter,” Armas said.

In the post, Amushelelo maintained that due to his limited options in prison, he has to undergo an “inhumane process of self-torture” as the only means at his disposal to fight for his freedom.

“I Saddam AMUSHELELO would hereby like to inform the world that it has come to my realisation that my life means nothing, if my life meant anything to anyone then there would be thousands of people in front of the prison gates every single day demanding for my freedom. It is for that reason seeing that I have been abandoned by the people, I am left with no other choice but to fight for my own freedom,” the social media post reads.

“I will remain on hunger strike until I have obtained my freedom. If I have to die in order to attain my freedom then so shall it be, the way I see it. The government can either start preparing my release from prison or my death certificate but either way, I refuse to continue being a political prisoner,” Amushelelo said.

His wife, Julieta Amushelelo told Nampa on Thursday that he authorised the social media post.

“He is determined to go through until the end with this hunger strike. I have tried to talk him out of it but he is determined and that scares me a lot,” she said.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) issued a statement on Thursday, condemning Amushelelo’s continued arrest.

“The EFF calls on the Namibian government to review and look into what is clearly political persecution, and calls on the international community to take notice of what may possibly be a human rights violation,” EFF spokesperson Sinawo Thambo said.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency