Labour minister Utoni Nujoma has turned to his lawyers to demand a written apology from Landless People’s Movement (LPM) leader Bernadus Swartbooi.
The LPM leader allegedly insulted and belittled him on several public forums over the past few years.
Nujoma has also opened a case of assault by threat against his former subordinate at the land reform ministry. The labour minister has threatened to take civil action if Swartbooi does not apologise to him within 14 days. Nujoma has also threatened to report Swartbooi, who is an admitted legal practitioner of the High Court, to the Disciplinary Committee for Legal Practitioners for his conduct “which is not befitting of a legal practitioner”.
His lawyer Richard Metcalfe accused Swartbooi of threatening the minister in parliament.
“Our instructions are that on Tuesday 24 March 2020, after parliament had adjourned, you without provocation of any kind by our client, the Hon.
Utoni Nujoma, removed your jacket and moved to our client threatening to physically assault him,” Metcalfe wrote in the letter of demand.
“You had to be physically restrained by other members of parliament. The Hon. Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation, Utoni Nujoma, was shocked by your belligerent behaviour which included you shouting at him and asking him why he was looking at you. Our client was naturally under the impression that you were going to assault him and you inspired such fear in our client by your unbecoming behaviour. Our client was certainly not looking at and/or staring at you as he was engaged in conversation with the Hon. Doreen Sioka and was certainly not interested in you.”
Metcalfe rejected claims that Nujoma had insulted Swartbooi on the fateful day.
“To add salt to injury, you have made a false misrepresentation that our client insulted your mother and such insult provoked your assault by threat upon our client. This false misrepresentation by you to cover your criminal conduct has caused prejudice and/or potential prejudice to our client and is wrongful and unlawful. Your false misrepresentation just happens to be wrongful, unlawful and defamatory of our client’s good character.” There has been an open hostility between Swartbooi and Nujoma since 2017 when the former called his then immediate superior at the land reform minister an “idiot” in the National Assembly.
Swartbooi had made the remarks whilst still serving as a Swapo MP and deputy minister of land reform. President Hage Geingob later fired Swartbooi after he refused to apologise to Nujoma. He later quit the ruling party and founded LPM.
In a widely circulated video footage, Swartbooi and his deputy Henny Seibeb, in retaliation against inflammatory comments reportedly made by Nujoma against the opposition leader, could be seen being pulled away by other parliamentarians. Attempts to reach Swartbooi proved futile yesterday as his phone went unanswered.
Messages sent to his private mobile phone were also not responded to.
2020-06-01 09:58:46 1 months ago