Diescho must set the facts right on the history of Caprivi Strip

Dear Editor,

Dr. Joseph Diescho’s public lecture that was conducted in the Caprivi Strip as viewed from the website of the Caprivi Vision http://www.caprivivision.com/diescho-describes-history-caprivi-strip-30-october-2011/  is of interest, although filled with many academic flaws that can mislead or ignite diplomatic rows with other countries, so is potential of witch-hunt of those alleged to have supported the Caprivi secessionist uprising.

Without hitting about the bush, allow me to address the misrepresentation of facts – that boil to sheer lies, which should not find themselves at an academic podium, as rumours, gossip, and speculations have no place in the world of academia.

First, the Caprivi secessionist uprising was not funded by anyone from South Africa as Diecho claims, which was a pure lie. If such elements exist that funded the uprising, then the acclaimed academic has a duty to expose them, because making blank statements has potential to fuel a witch-hunt, so is souring relations between countrieswith Namibia thinking that South Africa is harbouring people meant to destabilize the country.

Second, Namibia’s intellectual claims to have met some secessionist in South Africa who were set to find independence for the Caprivi Strip, those people are un-known to Caprivians. As he as well pointed-out that they were no Subia or Mafwe on that team, so who were they? Faceless people!And where are they today?Should people be speculating?Definitely, A cul-de-sac!

Third, for anyone to use an educational seminar that labels people with derogatory names meant to create a negative picture of such individuals must have irrefutable facts of his accusations, as Diescho went on calling Mishake Muyongo an opportunist.

Meaning, “A person who exploits circumstances to gain immediate advantage rather than being guided by consistent principles or plans.”

Is that true? Certainly not! How?

By blaming Muyongo with what happened in the Caprivi Strip without familiarizing himself with the case is dim-witted. On various platforms people that attended the alleged meeting in South African had refuted the lies that were reported by New Era in 1998 that they was no talk of secession, which Muyongo in his Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) interview as well denied.

So how can he be the political opportunist for something that he never created? Simply, the Namibian government mismanaged the rumours that were spread by New Era – even when they knew the truth that those reports were lies – leading to the persecution of Caprivian that resulted in a refugee exodus to neighbouring Botswana and ultimately set the stage for August 2, 1999.

On this, Diescho mustnot take sides without knowing the facts, its bad! Political analyst must have a free mind and only pronounce themselves on an issue when they have studied the subject, but not guess work! Or over-playing the patriotic card.

Fourth, Namibia’s academic was skating on facts when he talked about the merger where he pinpoints lousy reasons that led to the alliance between SWAPO and CANU – and surely ignored the major reasons that have been made known by people who signed the agreement.

Diecho claims that SWAPO wanted to attack Namibia using the Caprivi Strip, whereas CANU wanted to boost its resources. What about reason that have been brought forth by CANU, such as the right for people of the Caprivi to decide their political destiny – by being part of Namibia or forming a state of their own after defeating Apartheid South Africa, so were issues of who was to deputize who plus a few key points. For example, ask yourself, why was Muyongo made Vice-President of Swapo – holding the position for late Simbwaye?

Is it so difficult to tell young Caprivians and fellow Namibia such truth? What is education for, if not letting people know the truth for them to make an informed decision, so is advancing knowledge for those been fed with lies? But then, Diecho chose the opposite by misrepresenting facts– being picky with what to tell the audience?

Fifth, the academic suggested that Muyongo should have sought “special treatment” for the Caprivi Strip at independence of Namibia just like Kaptein Diergaart did with Apartheid South Africa’s Odedaal Plan, whose findings were made in 1964. Is Diecho forgetting that the Namibian constitution treats all its people as equals? No special treatment!

As should be known by Diecho, when Basters were seeking “special treatment”, Caprivians were already in exile fighting for the independence of the Caprivi Strip, which unfortunately got derailed after merging with SWAPO.

In short, that comparison was like comparing oranges with apples – incompatible!

Meaning, if Caprivians so want, they could easily seek their independence anytime, as that is what many inhabitants of that region died for – not to be treated “special” by somebody. In fact, not even the proposed University of Agriculture can quench the desire for freedom, as material things cannot buy independence. Apartheid South African had tried with the same ploy, but failed.

Diecho, money or a materialistic world cannot buy freedom!

Instead of playing politics, allow people of the Caprivi Strip from their own volition and love of the country to decide what they want – not political bribes.

Sixth, Diecho misled Caprivians that the Caprivi Council could tax Zambia and Zimbabwe for the Zambezi River because “it produces two sides of the Victoria Falls.” Simply, it cannot be done, unless Diecho wants to ignite a diplomatic row amongst states. The Caprivi Strip or Namibia does not own the Zambezi River. Period! So where would that absolute right come from – knowing that the Zambezi River originates from Zambia?

Seventh, If not the biggest joke of the day! Diecho fully agrees that Caprivians rejected any name change to the region, as was Lyambezi just after Namibian independence. But he quickly gives a silly reason for the intent behind the proposed name change that it was meant to “uplift the name Zambezi…” Serious!

Zambezi, which is a Tonga name, is known all over the world as it is the fourth largest river around the world, so how can someone promote something bigger already? Anyway, who benefits from the name Zambezi – is Zambia not calling the same river with the same name?

Equally, the name Caprivi Strip is a brand by itself, as it’s known all over the world, so why try to destroy the rich history of over a 100 years and a people’s collective identity?

Certainly, Diecho will never tell Caprivians the reasons why the Namibian government – come rain come sunshine – are trying to delete the name Caprivi Strip from the world map. Being a political analyst, he should understand what is at play – the conquering strategy Namibia have devised is set to erase everything about a people’s history, seen with the expropriation of land from the Caprivi Strip.

With such educational seminar, Namibia’s academic does not lose a thing, but stands to gain with government promotion/appointment by being the puppeteer.

Eighth, on a lighter note, the sentiments expressed by Diescho of who the Lozi people were are misleading, because literature review would tell anyone that the Lozi was comprised of over 25 tribes with different languages – forming the Lozi Kingdom. Therefore to try to separate the Mafwe or Subiya from the Lozi cannot sell very easy, based on their intertwined history – inseparable!

In conclusion, Namibia’s academics can only enhance knowledge when they start telling the truth – not “skating” around with half-baked truth, which can be dangerous – poisoning the minds of many young people and the future generation. Understandably, if the issues of bread and butter are weighing-in on an academic debate, it’s better to refrain from making “knee-jerked” academics seminars at the expense of knowledge and the truth.

Thank you,

Mulife Muchali


NB: This response was written on my own behalf, whose conscience could not digest letting lies go unchallenged. Don’t take this article as in anyway supporting secession, but stating the obvious.





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