Amid accusations of interrogations continues…
By Mwala Kalaluka in Lusaka and Risco Lumamezi in Katima Mulilo
ZAMBIAN security agencies have co-opted their Namibian counterparts in probing the connection between secessionist calls (heavy hitters) in Namibia’s Caprivi Region and Zambia’s Western Province, according to sources.
But Caprivi’s United Democratic Party leader Mr.Mishake Muyongo says dialogue and not interrogations is the best way to solve the Barotseland Agreement issue.
However, Muyongo, in an interview from his exile base in Denmark said there was no connection between ‘secession’ advocates in Caprivi Region and Western Zambia.
Highly-placed security sources said that some officers from Namibian Police and intelligence were in Zambia recently to clandestinely interview some Barotseland activists in the Western Province.
The sources said this was in the wake of March 26-27’s resolution by the Barotse National Council for Barotseland to secede from Zambia following the protracted unilateral abrogation of the Barotseland Agreement of 1964 by the Zambian government.
Last month, Namibian Police Inspector General, Lt-General Sebastian Ndeitunga, declined to allow a peaceful march by a concerned group planned to hand over the petition calling for a political dialogue surrounding the Caprivi saga by freedom advocates in the Caprivi Region, which was scheduled for the main regional town, Katima Mulilo, where people speak siLozi as is the case with Western Zambia.
Zambian security sources, highly involved in probing the Mongu BNC’s secessionist resolve said two Namibian security officers recently joined a team of Lusaka-based police officers to question Kaoma-based Barotse activists.“Among the people that interviewed [Barotseland Freedom Movement chairperson] Mr.Nyambe Namushi, there were officers from Namibia; one was an officer and the other was from the Intelligence,” the source said.
“However, they all gave Zambian names and the activists were therefore not aware that some of them were from Namibia.”And Barotseland Freedom Movement [BFM] chairperson Namushi said in an
interview from Kaoma that he was on April 13, 2012 again interviewed by some officers claiming to be from the Central Joint Operations Committee [CJOC] at Kaoma Police Station.
He said the officers led by a Ms Nonde all gave Zambian names but that two of them, a female and a male, strangely never uttered a word throughout the interrogation.
Mr.Namushi said the security officials told him they wanted to verify information he gave to the other team of security officers that warned and cautioned him together with Mr.Lubasi Mukamba immediately after the Limulunga BNC meeting.
“We are for peace and not for anything other than peace,” said Mr.Namushi. “We are not a violent people.”
Mr. Muyongo said the only interrogations he was aware of were those taking place in Caprivi, where several Caprivians had been detained over the last 14 years because of calling for the area’s freedom from Namibia.
“I have no idea at all whether there is any connection. If there was, I think I should be in the picture,” Mr. Muyongo said. “But if you were to do a very good research of the history of the Caprivi, you will find that Caprivi has never been part of Namibia, in the true sense of the country.”
He said Caprivi was seceded from Barotseland in the 19th century and had always been Caprivi on its own.
“Colonial regimes have been coming and going,” He said. “The Caprivi was a country separate from Namibia. So to say that Caprivi is seceding from Namibia is not correct.”
Mr.Muyongo explained that the manner the Namibian government was handling the Caprivi issue was similar to the laws that the illegal South African regime applied against Caprivians. He added saying Caprivians had been calling for dialogue with the Namibian government but that government always reacts by ruthlessly intimidating, interrogating and torturing the petitioners.
“I am saying no amount of threats or intimidation will change the will of the people of the Caprivi to be free,” Mr.Muyongo said. “For example
the issue in Zambia, I lived in Zambia for a while, that issue [Barotseland Agreement] has been there from the Time they got their
independence, so why can’t they talk to them [Barotseland activists]?”
Mr.Muyongo said dialogue can solve a number of problems because consistent interrogations only incite a people further.
“Let the Barotse people solve their problem but talk to them,” said Mr.Muyongo.
Efforts to get a comment from Zambia’s Home Affairs minister Kennedy Sakeni proved futile by press time as his mobile phone was not reachable.
Mr. Namushi admitted reports that, last month his council was picked up for interrogations by the Zambia Police Service which according to him among the alleged hit squad was comprised of wo Namibian intelligence officers.
Meanwhile, the Namibian Minister of Safety and Security, Mr. Nangolo Mbumba who was in Caprivi at the time when he was reached for comment told this paper that “ I’m not here for your speculations, I’m busy in the meeting with the Governor” after he referred this reporter to the Caprivi Regional Police Commander Mr. Rudolf Kanyetu.