Shaduka’s mother-in-law speaks
The woman whose daughter – Selma Mirjam ya Leopold Shaimemanya - was murdered by fugitive businessman Lazarus Shaduka has called on him to come back to Namibia so he can apologise and she can forgive him.
“I’m waiting for him to come and apologise to me. I will forgive him, even if I don’t want to, I have to, because Selma will never come back,” said Patemoshela Helena Haitembu.
The 62-year-old pensioner said she believes Shaduka had help while escaping and was tipped-off by someone.
Shaduka, 41, fled into Angola via the Oshikango border post three hours after the Supreme Court overturned his culpable homicide conviction and replaced it with a murder conviction - accompanied by 20-year jail term – on December 13, 2012.
Haitembu called for the circumstances surrounding Shaduka’s escape to be investigated.
“How do you have a case going on in court, but you are at Oshikango,” she asked.
Angry at government
Haitembu said she is angry at the legal system.
“Government gives stiffer sentences to thieves, but those like Shaduka, are allowed to pay bail. Maybe it’s because he was an employer and has money, therefore he can’t stay in jail,” she said.
Haitembu said not a single government official visited or called to enquire how her granddaughter is doing.
Selma died from a gunshot wound to the back of her neck 14 months into her marriage with Shaduka in July 2008 at their Klein Windhoek home.
Their daughter was nine months old at the time.
During the High Court trial, evidence that Shaduka had abused his wife was led. The businessman and former unionist claimed the shooting was an accident.
Shaduka claimed his wife had handled his firearm and had cocked it while they were watching television.
He said further he had taken the gun away from her and while it was in his hand, it went off.
The Supreme Court rejected his version and found that he had murdered his wife.
Haitembu said the couple never had problems before they got married. She said Shaduka courted her daughter and asked for her hand in marriage and the family consented.
However, after they got married, Shaduka started assaulting her daughter, Haitembu said.
She said the police were aware of the cases opened by her daughter.
After Selma’s killing, the police told Haitembu that they would only concentrate on the murder case and not the cases previously opened.
Haitembu believes that she will meet Shaduka “one day” and hopes until then he does not find rest for his soul.
“I have placed the case in the hands of God and He will answer in His own time.”
The grieving mother said she has not been well since her daughter’s death and things became worse after she heard of Shaduka’s escape.
“The stress I have is about to turn into depression, because I can’t sleep until I drink sleeping tablets. When I drink them, I only sleep for two hours and I am awake for the rest of the night. I have been advised not to read books with pictures, but to no avail,” she said.
“My blood pressure does not go down, even when I take medication and herbs that are said to help. My head feels like there is a bag of cement placed on top of it. I will never stop mourning my daughter. Even though the incident happened six years ago, it feels like she was killed yesterday,” said the crying Haitembu.
Selma was the eldest of Haitembu’s four children. She said her daughter assisted her at home.
“We understood each other and she gave me good advice.”
She said the family was thrilled on Selma’s wedding day and never anticipated that the marriage would end with her murder.
“I thought she will go start a home, just like anybody else.”
Asked what her fondest memory of her daughter is, she said: “I will never forget her smile. Even when she had a problem she never showed it.”
Selma was former defence minister Charles Namoloh’s secretary at the time of her death.
Haitembu said her daughter was a happy, peaceful child and loved making jokes.
“She loved the elders and children. When Selma came to visit, she would feed the children and the elderly. Before she went back home, she would bathe the elders and wash their clothes and blankets. Selma was the unifier in the family.”
Haitembu said her granddaughter is now seven and has started attending school.
Haitembu said the child occasionally suffers from stress and asks questions Haitembu does not have the answers to.
“The child says that she misses her mother and wants to know when she is coming back.”
‘Where is my mother so that we can go visit her?’ ‘Where is my father?’ The questions are too many and are worrying me,” she said.
Haitembu said her granddaughter initially wanted to be a doctor, but now wants to be a police officer so she can arrest her father, because she feels the police are not doing enough to trace Shaduka.
Police Inspector-General Sebastian Ndeitunga said the law does require someone on bail to attend court.
He also warned those who may be harbouring Shaduka that they will surely face prosecution.
“We really understand the frustration of the family, which of course is the frustration of all Namibians. Let us put our efforts together as a nation to hunt Shaduka down,” Ndeitunga said, adding that Shaduka can run, but not hide forever.
He said Shaduka should come back to Namibia to serve his sentence while he is still young, because time is on his side.
Selma Ikela: Namibian Sun