Judge to weigh up N$1m libel claim against Amupanda

Job Amupanda

A Defamation case in which deputy finance minister Maureen Hinda is suing Affirmative Repositioning movement leader Job Amupanda for N$1 million, is politics playing out in court, a lawyer representing Amupanda argued in the Windhoek High Court yesterday.

“This case is not litigation,” lawyer Kadhila Amoomo said during an address to acting judge Collins Parker.

“This is politics – politicians playing here in court,” Amoomo added.

He made the remarks while arguing that Parker should dismiss the defamation claim that Hinda filed against Amupanda in October 2021.

Parker postponed the delivery of his judgement on Hinda’s defamation claim to 15 August after hearing oral arguments from Amoomo and Hinda’s lawyer, Doris Hans-Kaumbi.

Hinda, who is suing Amupanda for N$1 million, is claiming that he made defamatory remarks about her in a posting on his Facebook account in July 2021.

Amupanda placed a photograph of a young woman wearing sunglasses and making ‘sharp’ signs with her fingers on his Facebook page, with the remark: “Deputy Minister of Finance Maureen Hinda during the Liberation Struggle. Maureen was so WizWiz. It’s like she won’t think twice about taking a knife out!” (sic)

He ended his comment with two laughing face emojis.

Maureen Hinda

Hinda is claiming the photograph and Amupanda’s accompanying comment were wrongful and defamatory.

She is also claiming that Amupanda intended to convey that the woman in the photograph was an image of her in her youth, that she “was a street girl ready to fight at a moment’s notice”, that she “fits the alleged stereotype in that she being Damara would not hesitate to stab anyone”, that she “has no integrity and that she is a violent person capable of causing anyone bodily harm”, and that she “is an uncouth woman that was of loose moral values during the liberation struggle”.

Hinda is further claiming that Amupanda made more defamatory remarks about her during January 2022, when he hinted in social media postings that Hinda’s lawsuit against him was a consequence of his “Rejecting the Sugar from the Mommy” (sic).

That remark, Hinda is claiming, was meant to further damage her reputation and was understood by members of the public to mean that she “is a cougar and has a penchant for younger men”, is vindictive and she is suing him because he had allegedly rejected advances from her previously.

Hans-Kaumbi argued yesterday that Amupanda resorted to gendered insults by hinting that Hinda was a “sugar mommy”.

She also argued he was not honest in his testimony when he claimed he did not know what a cougar – an older woman seeking a relationship with a much younger man – or a sugar mommy is.

Noting that Amupanda has aspirations to be elected as Namibia’s president, Hans-Kaumbi argued that national leaders should be held to a higher standard in their public utterances, which she said should set the tone for the people they lead.

Hans-Kaumbi asked the judge to award to Hinda the highest amount yet awarded by a Namibian court in a defamation case. This should serve as a deterrent for people who hold positions in which they are supposed to ensure that people’s rights are protected, she said.

The court should show that people who defame others and engage in cyber-bullying will face serious consequences and will not receive merely a slap on the wrist for their transgressions, Hans-Kaumbi argued.

Describing Hinda’s case against Amupanda as “a potjiekos” of different complaints, Amoomo argued that Hinda was in fact defamed by the meanings her lawyer attributed to Amupanda’s remarks.

Amoomo argued that since she is a politician, Hinda should not claim she was defamed because of remarks made about her.

“She must be tough. She chose to be a politician. She chose this profession. It’s brutal,” Amoomo remarked.

“Politicians must have a tough skin,” he said.

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