By Quinton Chimine
Chairperson of the United Democratic Party (UDP) Mr. Dasken Mulisa has hit a snag on Botswana and Namibia boundary treaty, while calling Namibian government to immediately withdraw and terminate the 2018 treaty.
He told reporters during a press conference held in Katima Mulilo on Wednesday, that the treaty was signed without any proper consultation of indigenous members that resides in the area, and who have knowledge of the demarcations.
According to him, the signing of the treaty by Namibia was done unprofessional and he calls upon President Hage Geingob to withdraw the boundary treaty and get it terminated.
He stressed that government of Namibia ceded Situngu Island to Botswana on terms of the 2018 Boundary treaty.
Situngu Island is commonly known as part of the Southern Caprivi Strip, this treaty has also affected some of the historical places such as Lake Liambezi, Ngoma border bridge , Linyanti River and among others.
“The Situngu Island is an affected part of the Caprivi Strip along the Linyanti river of the Caprivi Strip, it is an indigenous land for people of the Caprivi, some of the people were born in that place, ploughing in that place, today Situngu and other parts which were well known to us as part of Caprivi are now being enjoyed or terrorised by the BDF, we are no more allowed to go beyond the historical Situngu places we were aware off and have excess too, and this situation was not clarified by the government , it was the matter of signing and the government disappeared, today in Situngu area its very chaotic” cautioned Mr.Mulisa.
UDP Chairperson lambasted the Botswana Defence Force for occupying the area and causing catastrophe to the villagers, and is asking the Namibian government to demobilise soldiers to leave the homes of the villagers.
“Botswana they are even penetrating in our houses and to make it clear with reference to the shooting of the four that happened in the eastern side, and as a result of intervention of the Caprivi , the government provided the Defence Force or army to be next to the border, go and check them, they are not there. They even said they are scared to be next to the border, because the part now belongs to Botswana, as they are inside our homes as to impregnate our kids for nothing, Even them they are not wanted that side, they are doing nothing according to our observation. I order their removal that side because they are not doing what we were expecting them to do.”
Mr. Mulisa also lashed out on the inhumane conditions such as the lives and rights of his party members currently held in Botswana prison that “since last year Namibia and Botswana are in talks to extradite members of our party unlawfully held in Gerald Centre of Illegal Immigrants in Botswana to come back home and face treason charges in Namibia”
He therefore demanded the Namibian government to vehemently withdraw and terminate the boundary treaty on grounds that “the treaty has a serious error in the demarcation of the boundary with reference to the left channel of Linyanti, which does not exist. What exists, and referred to in the treaty is the left channel of Linyanti river from Kwando, are wetlands or swamps not a river channel”
He however expressed opinion that the treaty, and the effect thereof, conflicts with legal instruments in particular the peremptory norms of general international law and public international law, with reference to indigenous land rights, the principle of self-determination and the law of treaties, as enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.
He asks the government of Namibia to clear the names of the remaining UDP members in Botswana to allow them to come back home without subjection to prosecution, as it did with other returnees in 2019.
“The president should invoke Article 32(3)(d) of the Namibian Constitution and declare an amnesty for all Caprivians in exile to come back home and all Caprivi political prisoners to be released.”
He further lobbied the National Assembly of Namibia to invoke relevant provisions in the Namibian Constitution that support calls for amnesty and a referendum on the Caprivi political dispute in order to constitutionally and democratically resolve the long-standing dispute.
Caprivi Vision has established in the letter dated September 2, 2016 addressed to President Geingob from the Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights , Commissioner Pansy Tlakula of the African Union (AU) requesting him to intervene in the matter, and ensure that the Government of the Republic of Namibia “ Refrains from taking measures which may have the effect of predisposing matters which are at the core of this communication before its conclusion, including signing the boundary treaty with the Republic of Botswana which would involve demarcating the southern boundary line of Caprivi Strip” quoted the letter.