Living in Namibia is dangerous for me – Diescho

Joseph Diescho

Political analyst Joseph Diescho says he wants to leave Namibia soon to settle in Europe as he no longer feels safe in the country.

In an interview with The Namibian on Tuesday, Diescho claimed he had been granted political asylum in a European country, alleging that he has been unable to make a living in his motherland as the government has blocked his efforts over the past three years. He declined to reveal which European country had allegedly given him asylum.

Diescho was the executive director of the Namibia Institute of Public Administration and Management (Nipam) before he was axed in 2015 for alleged insubordination, material breach of his employment contract and competition with his employer.

He cited intimidation as the reason he cannot serve on any board, be allowed to do consultation work, teach at any of the local universities or schools, nor be invited to press conferences.

“I have been invited to do motivational talks at schools and always, the day before the event, they would call me to say they were told that I am not welcome,” Diescho explained.

He also mentioned that president Hage Geingob vilified him during a Swapo central committee meeting at Rundu on 25 August 2018.

According to Diescho, this ensued after the president apparently spoke to the armed forces about him.

“Many old friends run away from me for fear of being guilty by association,” he said, adding that alleged phone calls from public office-bearers have dented his personal relations.

The political analyst, who stressed that he had committed no crime; broken no law; nor breached any employment contract, said he had to sell laptops and suits to keep his child in school last year. Additionally, the bank had repossessed his house in 2016 due to his inability to service his bond.

He said denying a person the opportunity to serve his or her nation is as bad as killing them.

In the past, The Namibian reported that battle lines had been drawn between Diescho and then Swapo vice president Hage Geingob, after Geingob described him as a “political prostitute” during a Swapo rally at Outapi.

The academic had initially labelled Geingob and the late former speaker of the National Assembly, Theo-Ben Gurirab, as opportunists. Last year, Diescho was overlooked for the University of Namibia (Unam) vice chancellor’s position.

The Windhoek Observer reported that Diescho did not even get a letter of acknowledgement for his application for the top post at Unam.

“A European country picked up my predicament, and decided to offer me a corner to lay my head and grow cabbages so that I do not continue to live on bread and sugar water,” he said about the relief of not having to constantly look over his shoulder in fear.

Diescho is the author of ‘Born of the Sun’, the first novel written by a native Namibian.

Information minister Stanley Simataa told The Namibian on Tuesday that the government is not pushing anyone away, and that the country’s leadership has the right of reply, just like any other Namibian citizen. “As far as I am concerned, Diescho’s decision to leave the country is personal,” Simataa explained.

Simataa claimed the government was simply following up on some of the matters raised by Diescho on certain political matters, and had no intention of being a threat to the political analyst.

Simataa argued that the “genesis of issues matters”, making reference to Diescho’s controversial dismissal from Nipam.