Published in its Edition of 18 – 29 February 2008
Watching the Nation
THE YEAR has practically ended and as we count the days to enter the New Year, we at The Caprivi Vision would like to reflect on the past year with this last edition as you travel from afar, across the four corners of the country to join your loved ones in celebrating your sweat to put food on the table for the last 12 months.
And as we kick the past year into the distance of memory and unlock the New Year, it is important for us to look back and recap on the previous editions we have published and the challenges faced in bringing out these editions so that you could be properly informed and thus make decisions accordingly.
What you need to know upfront is that in 2008, we published this paper without any donor-funding or working capital, and for this we wish to thank all our advertisers who made things possible. Our advertisers consistently injected money into this paper, and thus helped us to be where we are today.
Being a community or regional paper, we tried to investigate and publish issues that we thought were closer to your heart, especially issues pertaining to the socio- economic development and socio-political tolerance, which we believe are the centre of our existence.
Some stories we wrote and published highlighted the challenges our community faces but there were no easy solutions to them. These are yet to come and we hope that our perseverance in reporting these issues will generate the necessary debate to bring forth ideas to help solve them.
For example, The Caprivi Vision edition of 18–29 February 2008 is an edition that will not easily be forgotten by our readers and us. We carried a story that was at the heart of this society because we believe in an independent print media. Democracy, we believe, cannot be sharpened if freedom of speech and expression cannot be enjoyed by all of us.
This particular edition was a test for our core values of democracy as enshrined in our Constitution, Chapter 3 Article 5–25) which was adopted from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as drafted in 1948 by all member states of this world.
In this February 18 -29 edition, we merely exercised our freedom of expression and of the media by publishing Mr Mishake Muyongo’s New Year message. This brought a lot of accusations from the government, especially SWAPO political cohorts who called for the speedy creation of a media council to regulate media houses because of what was published.
Permanent Secretary of the then Ministry of Information and Broadcasting now renamed Ministry of Information and Communication Technology; Mr. Mbeuta Ua-Ndjarakana issued a media statement on 27th February 2008 with the following stern warning.
“The publication of fugitive Mishake Muyongo’s inciting New Year’s message in The Caprivi Vision, one of the community newspapers in the Caprivi region, is a blatant demonstration of disregard for the Namibian Constitution by the Editor of the publication, Mr. Risco Lumamezi. His action, to allow his newspaper to be used as a mouthpiece for Mr. Muyongo’s calls for an independent Caprivi, can well result in him being prosecuted under existing laws and in line with Article 21 (2) of the Namibian Constitution.
“The Namibian Government condemns in the strongest possible terms the publication in newspapers of inciting messages by Mr. Mishake Muyongo or anybody else who plans to use that powerful platform to destabilise the peace and security in the country.
“Although the Constitution guarantees the fundamental freedoms of Namibians, including freedom of speech, expression and the freedom of the media (Article 21 (1) (a), the same Constitution in Article 21 (2) is clear that such freedoms shall be exercised subject to the laws of Namibia. The misuse and abuse of fundamental freedoms may lead to criminal charges when it touches on among others the sovereignty and integrity of Namibia, national security and the incitement to an offence. The Caprivi Vision overstepped all limits when it afforded Mr. Muyongo the opportunity to use the newspaper to incite Namibian citizens to unite and fight for a free and independent Caprivi.
“Mr. Muyongo, the mastermind behind the failed secessionist attempt in the Caprivi region in 1999, fled Namibia after the failed secession and he is now living in safety in Denmark, while his accomplices have to face the music for his failed plans. His tricks to continue inciting Namibians in the Caprivi region from a distance to work towards the “freedom and independence” of Caprivi is the trademark of a coward and not worthy of receiving publicity.
“Mr. Muyongo is a disgruntled politician who failed to destabilise the country in 1999 and who would leave no stone unturned to shatter the existing peace, harmony and stability in a sovereign Namibia to serve his own, selfish purposes. In pursuing his objectives, he has to resort to community newspapers, often starved for news, to voice his dissenting views.
“What makes his actions more dubious and repulsive, is that he personally represented his former party, the DTA of Namibia, at the unanimous adoption the Namibian Constitution on 9 February 1990. By putting his signature on the Constitution, he bound himself to Namibia’s supreme law, which clearly states in Article 1 (1) that ‘the Republic of Namibia is hereby established as a sovereign, secular, democratic and unitary State founded upon the principles of democracy, the rule of law and justice for all’.
“The Government also wants to caution the editor of The Caprivi Vision to tread carefully in matters, which he does not seem to have an understanding. His explanation of publishing the Muyongo New Year’s message to start a debate does not hold water. There is nothing to debate. Caprivi is part of Namibia and Caprivi will remain part of Namibia as per the Constitutional provisions that established the Republic of Namibia on 21 March 1990.”
We at The Caprivi Vision would like to stand by our decision to publish the Muyongo message. As an independent community newspaper we believe that these are matters already in the public domain and need to be discussed openly.
We will therefore continue to promote democracy by providing editorial content that will stimulate debate on pertinent and burning issues such as human rights and democracy in Namibia.
We believe people should not be starved of news. Currently we are only short of funds to buy our own printing press and produce this paper every day under one roof. That is our dream and perhaps it will happen soon. Welcome 2009!