Monday, November 12, 2018

Botswana Twist Caprivian’s Arm In A Forced Repatriation

Mishake Muyongo President of United Democratic Party (UDP) & Caprivi Freedom.
Namibian refugees that fled from Caprivian conflict have accused Botswana authorities of using underhand means to boot them out of the country. These allegations were, however, shot down by Defence, Justice and Security, Permanent Secretary Segakweng Tsiane, who said claims that the Botswana government was secretly repatriating the Namibian refugees against their will were unfounded. “I can confirm that we have received four Namibian refugees who want to take up voluntary repatriation back home to Namibia,” she said. But the refugees who are former members of United Democratic Party this week accused Botswana of throwing its democratic ideals through the window by “ignoring who they are when it comes to the Caprivian issue. 

Caprivian Freedom
Civil Rights Advocacy Group for Caprivi Strip 
According to the Mushaki Muyongo statement said the government of Botswana which has always ranked as a model of democracy in Southern Africa where surrounding Countries and afar would come to benchmark on the admirable system of governance, the separateness and independence of the three arms of Government have just turned around to ignore who they are when it comes to the Caprivian issue. The forced repatriation of the 25 October 2018 under which Abel Walubita, Ben Zwelo, Nzundamo Matemwa and Limbo Malala were taken to Caprivi Strip, currently illegally occupied by Namibia is an open breach of international instruments that govern asylum seekers and refugees conventions. The 1951 UN Convention on Status of Refugees Article 32 and 33 prohibit the Forceful return of refugees to Countries they fled. It reads as follow, “No Contracting State shall expel or return (“refouler”) a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion”. This repatriation was composed of the people who have not denounced their affiliation to UDP and therefore repatriation was imposed on them as they were told that it is the only way they will come out of the prison.


It is a common cause that the acts of Botswana Government this far on the Caprivian people is just aimed to appease Namibia on a friendly basis. The dubious so-called repatriation being conducted in Dukwi is actually a direct contempt of Court order of 18 March 2016 and 25 July 2018 consecutively held at Lobatse High Court. These Caprivians were repatriated against their will, the Government imposed migration laws that do not apply to political refugees in any circumstances as per the definition of a refugee under UN convention of 1951 and protocol of 1967. Two of the deportees were in the Centre for illegal immigrants after saving their sentences; they were later pounded with prohibited immigrants (PI) which rendered them to fall under immigration laws. 

One of them was stolen from his relatives in Dukwi Refugee Camp, as he was picked by cheating him that they are transporting him to his house after buying him a drink. Had he known their intention they were not going to manage him because at many times he said he is not going back to Vambo Government, he wants to fight for the Caprivi independence. In a nutshell, I never expected Botswana to treat Caprivians in this manner, Caprivians and Batswana fought historical battles together, and Botswana should not forget the past, because it is the past that makes the good present. Recently in the Botswana radio interview, I mentioned a historical fact that no Motswana could deny; from 1921 to 1929 Caprivi Zipfel was governed together with the Bechuanaland protectorate under the British Colony. 

Caprivians were paying tax in Botswana at Kasane and Maun; we share almost all in common. Those days, Caprivians and Batswana didn’t know Namibia. There is no amount of money or property that can buy the life of a human being, whatever; either it is a friendship of a blood covenant, still, it is just not worth a single life. But what the world is observing in respect of the treatment that Caprivians are receiving from their blood family neighbour is difficult to fathom. It is a surprise as the Government says they cannot afford to lose their friendship with Namibia because of the Caprivi issue; a clear and loud statement that Caprivians are the means to strengthen their friendship. This newly found friendship with Namibia is a double-edged knife that will not cut only Caprivians but Batswana too. I am reliably informed of bad conduct, hat, discouragement, humiliation and psychological torture Caprivians are receiving from the commanders of Dukwi Refugee Camp who are charged with the affairs of refugees; they are being threatened and called names, that they are afraid of hunger that is why they are refusing to go home, and many more. It is just not good to treat in such a bad way victims of harassment torture and survivors of death who ran to you for safety. 


All that is being done is to intimidate and frustrate Caprivians, so that they may opt for repatriation to surrender themselves back in the hands of their torturers. I am appealing to His Excellency the President Dr.Mokgweetsi Masisi to revisit the manner in which the Caprivians are being treated in his Country. The judiciary of Botswana holds the clear record as to what made Caprivians flea from Namibia. On four different occasions, the High Court of Botswana ruled that Caprivians should not be taken back to Namibia citing political reasons. The Government of Botswana has a clear advice and direction from the Judiciary as per the four consecutive rulings in the High Courts as to what nature, and how the Caprivi issue should be handled. 

The Caprivi issue calls for politicians with liberal minds; who are straight in thinking, straight in dealing with the lives of other people, and not afraid of facts no matter how hard. Namibian Government is just good in playing with words while they are stepping on the toes of other people; playing with words never makes a good leadership and democracy, it is determinant actions that made the late Mandela and many others heroes and champions of peace. In conclusion, I say, I am saddened by what has just happened, nevertheless, I look forward to the new treatment of the Caprivians in the hands of President Dr. Masisi I appreciate the understanding some Batswana have towards Caprivians, so the struggle for the Caprivians continues.... 




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