Caprivi boundary needs extreme caution

     
 
  

RECENTLY Just ended visit by the Delimitation Commission in Caprivi is welcome news to the once troubled region that really needs urgent attention to solve its problems.

Our eyes are still open, no wonder we have to thank the commission for listening and accepting requests of the residents of Caprivi for having an open public consultative meeting for the first time, unlike over the years when people were not informed or allowed to submit their proposals but only a few selected group of people were consulted.

We all know that before every general election the commission is mandated to visit all 13 political regions of this country to get views and proposals on the boundaries of the regions and their constituencies.

However in Caprivi region, different opinions and proposals were submitted from the pubic and the Caprivi Regional Council, which composed of six constituency councillors. But the fact of the matter was in bringing inputs on the name change of the Caprivi region and demarcations of its Constituencies.

A proposal submitted by hounorable Caprivi Governor, Lawrence Sampofu of the Caprivi Regional Council that Caprivi should change to Zambezi shows a sense of political immaturity as this will no longer take us any where as there are still other pending issues of the Caprivi, because history would not allow us to jump into a name that exist. Zambezi District existed before Germany when it was part of Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) under the British rule.

We feel that we should first benefit from the name Caprivi as it originates from the well-developed countries that colonized us in the past and therefore should not get away empty-handed.

We all know that the name Zambia is derived from the word Zambezi and they are people called Zambezi in Zambia. In our case, we should regard it as a river that brings fresh water to avoid confusion.

In addition, for the sake of the new generation not to be unnecessarily confused, at the end of the 19th century the region was known as Itenge (also known as Linyandi) and was ruled by the Lozi Empire as part of the Barotseland Kingdom. That is why to date the people of the region have learnt to speak, write and read siLozi in schools.

The Barotseland Kingdom was a very powerful empire, which ruled parts of the present day Botswana, Namibia and Zambia. In the late 1800s Britain controlled this area from the federation of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland (now Zambia and Malawi), Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and the British protectorate of Bechuanaland (now Botswana).

However, at the second Berlin Conference, the Caprivi Strip became a Germany possession after the British exchanged it for the islands of Heligoland (North sea) and Zanzibar (Indian ocean) as part of the Heligoland – Zanzibar Treaty concluded on August 10, 1890. After World War 1, Germany was stripped of its colonial possessions, as stated in the Treaty of Versailles of 1919.

In 1920, South West Africa (now Namibia) was placed under the mandate of the League of Nations, while the strip remained under South Africa as a separate entity. Before Zambia’s independence in 1964,the Zambian Prime Minister Kenneth Kaunda and the Litunga(King)
Of Barotseland, sir Mwanawina Lewanika signed an agreement incorporating the autonomous Barotseland Kingdom into Zambia without the Caprivi Strip.

In 1972, Caprivi was given its own legislative Council, which could make decisions concerning its development and also had its own national anthem and emblem. Nevertheless, a commissioner-General directly administered the strip from South Africa.

Until 1999, certain laws specific to South West Africa and subsequently Namibia were not applicable to the Caprivi Strip (CAPRIVI REGION) The application of laws to the Eastern Caprivi Zipfel; Act 10 of 1999 was promulgated only on June 24, 1999, extending the laws of Namibia
To the strip.

The proposed new constituency from Kabbe that should have its headquarters at Nakabolelwa to be called Kasikili will also bring confusions with the Republic of Botswana and we should not make errors again and we have seen that Kasikili belongs to Botswana after its final judgment by the International Court of Justice in the Netherlands that ruled in favour of that country let us not bring conflicts among nation states.

History tells us that, the current name Caprivi was named after a German Chancellor Count George Leo Caprivi de Caprera de Montecuccoli, In 1890, Caprivi de Caprera de Montecuccoli, a German soldier and statesman negotiated a boundary treaty with Great Britain which provided for a corridor from the north eastern corner of South West Africa to the junction of the Chobe and Zambezi Rivers. The purpose for this unusual boundary adjustment was to provide a commercial outlet for German trade in minerals. By granting the adjustment the British were able to block German efforts to acquire a link between South West Africa and her east coast colonies.

With regard to the recent consultative meeting by the Namibia’s Delimitation Commission on the new boundaries of the Caprivi region, we would like to stand by the side that the boundary should be moved to its old boundaries that start from Impalila Island to Andara in the Eastern Kavango.

We further call for the creation of other new six constituencies in each present constituencies of the Caprivi that will bring a total of twelve constituencies as per Article 106 (1) of the Namibian constitution. In order to bring government more closer to the people.


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