OMUTHIYAGWIIPUNDI - an agent and foot soldier, who was campaigning for independent presidential candidate Dr Panduleni Itula, claims members of the reserve police in Omuthiya assaulted him during last week’s general election.
Gebhard Gottlieb said the incident happened at around 23h00 on 27 November at a bar near a polling station in Omuthiya where he was posted as a party agent. Gottlieb was allegedly waiting for another agent from Ondangwa to pick him up, when the police pounced on him.
He said he was called by his associate as he was walking to Omuthiyagwiipundi polling station from his station, as a result, he decided to wait for him at a nearby bar where a group of people were seated.
During that process, members of reserve force who were on patrols to make sure that no bar and sheebens were operating during the day of election, found them, others ran away but he remained firm seated.
“I decided to wait for my associate who was coming from Ondangwa. I wasn’t drinking anything neither did I order a drink at that bar.
However, as I was seated I just saw police coming towards the bar, people who were drinking ran away, knowing that I wasn’t part of the squad neither drinking, I stayed put. Instead of asking questions, the police started beating and kicking me all over the body,” narrated Gottlieb. He further claimed that his smartphone was broken in the attack.
He said he wanted to open a case but was apparently told that the charge office official has no mandate to deal with cases involving the reserve force team.
“The next day I went back to the police station, and I met with the regional commander, where I raised the issue with him.
The members were called in, but they twisted the statement saying I was forcing the bar lady to sell alcohol to me which is not the case.
I did not open a case though, but I just wanted to let the authorities know of the injustice assaults they did.
This could have happened to many innocent people,” he added. Commissioner Armas Shivute acknowledged having met with Gottlieb and reserve force members in an effort to address the matter, and the victim was advised to open a case if he aggrieved.
“I refused to open a case, because the version I got from my members is that he was unruly and that basic information suggested he was forcing the bar lady to sell alcohol to him.
On the day of election, no bars were allowed to operate, and that was supposed to be adhered to,” countered Shivute. He further reiterated that if the victim is offended he could still open a case- so that the matter can be heard in a competent court of law.