‘Damara remarks’ legal aid lawyer wins case against justice minister

Justice minister Yvonne Dausab’s decision to withdraw the appointment of a legal aid lawyer in the wake of remarks she made about Damara people has been reviewed and set aside by a High Court judge.

The withdrawal of Eva Maria Phillemon’s appointment as legal aid counsel was set aside by judge Orben Sibeya in a judgement delivered in the Windhoek High Court on Friday morning.

Phillemon sued the justice minister and the director of legal aid after Dausab withdrew her appointment as legal aid counsel in terms of the Legal Aid Act in April last year.

Dausab took that step after remarks that Phillemon had made on social media, in an apparent attempt to compliment the Damara community, backfired on her when they were perceived as insulting instead.

In the remarks, Phillemon commented on photographs of people in traditional Damara dresses and stated: “For once, the Damara people are doing something beautiful, cultural identity.”

She added: “I love this!”

Then, however, she continued: “This overshadows that violence image of breaking bottles, knife stabbing, insults, no culture identity that I only know of them.” [sic]

Dausab described Phillemon’s remarks as an “inflammatory tribal tweet” in an affidavit filed at the High Court in response to Phillemon’s application to have the withdrawal of her appointment reviewed and set aside.

  • More in our next edition.

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