Namibian refugee cries foul at Ngoma boarder post

By Risco Lumamezi

A Namibian refugee who was forcefully deported back to Namibia on Thursday morning by Botswana Authority wants to return back to Dukwi refugee camp.

Mr. Kenneth Basco Zakia (47) left the Caprivi Strip in 1998 and was granted a refugee status by UNHCR in Botswana after fearing persecution.

Mr. Kenneth Basco Zakia (47) , Caprivian Refugee

He told Caprivi Vision that he was repatriated to Namibia without his own will by Botswana Immigration Authority after he was transferred from Dukwi refugee Camp and was send to the centre for illegal immigrants at Maun.

According to him, he is a UDP member who cannot receive any good treatment in Namibia on account of his political affiliation.

“I told them that I don’t want to go to Caprivi because am a member of UDP for Muyongo, both of my parents have passed away, and there’s no need of me coming back here”

Mr. Zakia is married to a Motswana and both have raised four (4) children, two boys and 2 girls.

He said that he was refusing to come to Namibia but they applied force “they dumped me here I want to go back to my family, my wife and kids, I will die here”

Privy sources at Ngoma boarder post told this paper that repatriation of Zakia was illegal, and the Botswana Immigration Officials were yesterday returned twice at the Namibian boarder looking for the Chief Immigration Officer to validate the arrival of the deported national which all proved futile as the Chief Immigration Officer was on leave.

He alleged that he was not supplied any food, and he has been chained both hands and legs thrown in the Police vehicle for deportation from Maun to Ngoma.

He is from Maunga Village in Kapani Area, south of Zambezi region.

At the time of publishing this story, Zakia spent the night in police custody at Ngoma and he walked-up freely and went back at Ngoma boarder post where he is still protesting to be deported back to Botswana.

This paper also established that Zakia’s deportation was unprocedural because he did not apply for voluntary repatriation so that he can get some incentive benefits such as money, food and shelter similar to those Namibian refugees who were repatriated before him,which are offered by the UNHCR and Namibian government in order for him to start-up his life on.

However, a human rights watchdog in Botswana warned and condemned the decision of the government of Botswana for forcefully repatriate two Namibian refugees from the former Caprivi Strip (now Zambezi Region) in Botswana.
The two (2), Fleming Samunzala Siswaniso and Vasco Kenneth Zaika, both aged forty-seven (47) are said to have fled to Botswana in November 1998 with others for protection. They both enjoyed refugee status in Botswana.

In a press statement the Human rights watchdog noted that “DITSHWANELO still believes that the refugees should be provided with an opportunity to engage and express their views openly and freely, with the Government of Botswana. The strength of Botswana’s presence in the history of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) regional stability should continue to motivate our Government to be constructive in its engagements, nationally, regionally and internationally”.

DITSHWANELO further reiterated and urged the government of Botswana to further engage with the group of refugees on the issue of repatriation and the risk of refoulement, in order to better understand their concerns and the reasons which led them to flee Namibia.

“Their concerns should be given the necessary attention for a sustainable solution to be found, which will be beneficial for all parties concerned. Respect by Botswana, of its international human rights commitments, is essential for a country which is a member of the international and African community of nations.” said the statement.








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