Feeling humbled, I had the honour to be in the front row seat to witness the return of the first two batches of Namibian returnees from Botswana. I was invited. I flew from Windhoek to Katima Mulilo. Those were memorable and amazing experiences.
Simply, the arrivals of Namibian returnees were euphoric. There were joyful events where the Namibian government had truly put in place a reception team that welcomed its many “prodigal sons and daughters” with open arms.
Indeed, for close to twenty years, my plea to the political leadership in the country was among others to call for the return of all exiled Namibians living in Botswana. Those that had fled the country after the political upheaval in the then Caprivi region.
Today, I am happy to see the start of the process of returning all exiled Namibians. If anything, the Geingob Presidency is slowly but surely closing that painful chapter of a post-independent Namibia that saw brothers turning arms against each other, which was very unfortunate.
Certainly, Namibia is ready to turn a new chapter where all its citizens will play that pivotal role in building the Namibian House where ‘no one should feel left out”. In all these, the sincerity of the political leadership is astonishing – almost angelic. Something that the hundreds of exiled Namibians did not expect.
After having lost all the United Nations High Commission for Refugees benefits that are accorded to refugees on voluntary repatriation, the Namibian government committed itself to fill the gap. The returnees were not expecting that – the noble gesture from the government.
Equally, I was mesmerized. When the full packages were announced that Namibian returnees were entitled too– monetary, food provisions, building materials, getting government services and alike, it felt certain that Namibia is having a great Statesman. A man who walks the talk.
During the proceedings, the notion of peace, political stability, and rule of law received prominence. All Namibians were urged to fully abide by the many provisions guaranteed by the Namibian Constitution – where people are free to form political parties and speak up when need be. A very positive message.
As for the returnees, they have lost time on many things, but with the assistance of the Namibian government, many will be able to catch-up. It won’t be easy, but this is better than languishing in a refugee camp.
From indications, returnees are already enjoying the notion of freedom and peace in their motherland, Namibia.
For the country, there are so many challenges at hand that must not be distracted by petty politics. I hope all Namibians, especially the returnees, will find this as a learning episode. People can disagree on various issues, but there must never be room for violence.
Unquestionably, a reason the president always emphasizes the issue with his slogan signature saying that “exclusivity spells conflict whereas inclusivity spells harmony”. With that, dialogue is key. Surely, those feeling afflicted must learn to voice their opinion without fear of favour, but always know that Namibia is the only country people have. Its sovereignty and territorial integrity must be protected.
Successfully, within his first term of office, President Geingob has re-written Namibian history. Surely, the return of all exiled Namibians signifies an important era in Namibian politics. A great beginning.
As I wide up, my sincere appreciation to the Namibian political leadership, especially the President and Commander-in-Chief, Dr. Hage Geingob, for setting a smooth process that will lead to the full integration of all Namibian exiles. Indeed, Namibian returnees from Botswana were well received by the Namibian government in a safe and dignified way.