Malawian herbalist nabbed in Namibia for overstaying

A Malawian youthful traditional healer has been arrested in Namibia’s capital Windhoek for overstaying in that country with one day.

Namibia’s leading newspaper, New Era, reported Wednesday the traditional healer, identified as Innocent Banda, was arrested by immigration officials after he failed to leave the country following the expiry of his visitor’s visa.

He appeared in Katutura Magistrate Court Tuesday on a charge of overstaying his welcome in that country by one day.

According to the newspaper, Banda’s advertisements have been featuring prominently in Namibia’s local newspapers and, among others, included bringing luck to hi clients.

Overstayer: Malawian tarditiona healer in Namibia
Overstayer: Malawian tarditiona healer in Namibia

“Banda was supposed to leave Namibia on January 07, but was arrested on January 08 at the Katutura Police Station where he supposedly went to enquire about a case he registered there,” reported the newspaper.

According to the report, Banda’s original visa expired on November 29 last year and he approached the immigration department for an extension, which was granted on December 03 allowing him to remain in Namibia until January 07.

“But he decided to stay for another day to sort out another pending matter at the police station. While there an immigration official, a certain Mr. Mwaala, happened upon him and enquired as to why he did not leave when he was supposed to. He was arrested there and then until his court appearance yesterday,” it said.

Quoting court records, the paper said immigration officials asked for an extension order for his detention on December 28 after the initial 14 days they are allowed to detain illegal immigrants lapsed.

And in mitigation Banda’s lawyer told the court the accused was only 25-years-old and single with no children and was a student of science in Malawi.

He further told the court Banda was a first offender having never been in conflict with the law and he did not waste the court’s time by pleading guilty at first opportunity granted to him.

The lawyer, in ensuring that his client got freedom, also told the court Banda was extremely remorseful and vowed never to repeat the offence again.

But for its part the State argued that the Malawian expressed a severe lack of respect for Namibian law by overstaying in the country.

The prosecutor said monitoring of foreign nationals in Namibia was there for a reason and to avoid criminal offences by foreigners as such asked the court to impose a sentence that would not only serve as deterrence to the Malawian witch doctor but to others thinking of committing the same offence as well.

The state then proposed a fine of N$4 000 (about K161 000) or six months imprisonment.

But the presiding Magistrate, in her sentencing, said while Banda had overstayed by just one day it did not negate the seriousness of his offence as Namibia has laws in place for a reason.

She said it was not only Namibia that had such laws in place and other countries such as his (accused) home country would also expect Namibians to also obey their laws.

The Magistrate then disagreed with the fine imposed instead asked Banda to pay N$2 000 (about K80 000) or serve six months imprisonment.

Banda, whose detailed particulars have not been established, paid the fine and was expected to be deported to Malawi on Wednesday.

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