Police play down Ekandjo accidentBy: SHINOVENE IMMANUEL
THE Namibian Police have played down claims that an accident which involved a vehicle allocated to Swapo’s vice presidential candidate Jerry Ekandjo over the weekend was a plot to assassinate him.
Deputy Commissioner Silvanus Nghishidimbwa said at a media briefing yesterday that they had experienced similar incidents where the tyre burst or the wheel of a car came off.
“As far as I’m concerned it wasn’t an assassination attempt,” he said.
Despite commenting on the incident to various media houses, Swapo secretary for information and mobilisation Jerry Ekandjo yesterday declined to disclose any information when asked about the accident.
“I cannot comment on something that is still being investigated,” Ekandjo said, adding: “I don’t talk to The Namibian.”
Nghishidimbwa said the wheel of the double-cab bakkie snapped off while the car was on the move.
“It started running on the [axle] and when it stood, fire started,” he said. The bakkie burnt out.
The two police officers and one civilian in the bakkie, who escaped unhurt, were travelling to Windhoek from the North.
A routine investigation of reckless or negligent driving was opened against the driver, said Nghishidimbwa.
The minister’s official car, a Mercedes-Benz, was booked in for a service and he was given the bakkie for temporary use.
Nghishidimbwa said the accident occurred 46 kilometres outside Windhoek. Ekandjo flew back to Windhoek on Friday from an official trip to the North.
The Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) has alleged that incumbent Swapo vice president Hage Geingob is receiving preferential treatment, as he is provided with a police escort while others in the Swapo Party vice presidential race are not.
However, such claims were refuted by Police Inspector General Sebastian Ndeitunga, who said ministers and their deputies all have one bodyguard each.
Ndeitunga said the only difference is that Geingob, as first Prime Minister, has an extra bodyguard, whom he requested “many years ago”.
SPYL spokesperson Job Amupanda on Saturday called for a thorough investigation into the accident, including the service and mechanical record of the bakkie.
“Until we are proven otherwise, we remain of the belief that this was nothing but a political assassination attempt on the life of Comrade Jerry Ekandjo,” Amupanda said.
Ndeitunga said the vehicle was totally destroyed, making it difficult to investigate, and he could not say how long an investigation would take.
The Police chief further cautioned people not to jump to conclusions before the investigation is finalised.
“If you have information, share it with the police instead of going on Facebook making conclusions which are not proven,” he said.
Ndeitunga said a team of investigators was set up to determine the cause of the accident, and it included police forensics director Paul Ludik.
Ludik confirmed that he is part of the team but he could not comment on the progress so far.
Ekandjo is contesting to become the country’s next president, but he will have to shove off competition from Swapo vice president Hage Geingob and secretary general Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana, who are vying for the position of vice president at the party’s congress from November 29 to December 2.
Whoever is elected vice president of the party at the congress is expected to take over from President Hifikepunye Pohamba, who remains Swapo president but must step down after the 2014 national elections as he would have served the constitutional limit of two terms as Head of State.