By Simon Liseli
OMBUDSMAN of the Republic of Namibia advocate John Walters conducted his first-ever public hearing at Katima Mulilo, on Tuesday June 27, 2017 focusing on Racism, Racial discrimination, Discrimination in general, Tribalism and other related intolerance.
He was accompanied by some of his Staff members of his office from Windhoek, Acting governor of Zambezi and Councilor for Kabbe South Constituency Hon. Peter Mwala and Chief Regional Officer of Zambezi Regional Council Ms. Regina Ndopu-Lubinda and others.
The hearing took place in Ngweze Community Hall.
Advocate Walters asked Zambezi residents who attended the hearing to be at liberty as they speak out their views and all complaints with experiences they had at heart and in mind that affects them especially on racial discrimination, tribalism and discrimination in general.
He added on his concept note that Namibian constitution is highly idealistic and generous that promises a land of fulfillment and plenitude.
He mentioned that, first they visited Karas Region before coming to Zambezi with the aim of hearing complaints affecting people especially in rural areas of the country and their experiences on discrimination, racism, tribalism and other related intolerance before he compiles his report and recommendations that will be handed over to the parliament as he is countable to the parliament that represents the people in the country.
“Its preamble proclaims the equal and inalienable right of all members of the human family, the establishment of a democratic society where the government is responsible to the, unity and integrity of the nation, national reconciliation and a determination to cherish and protect the gains of the long struggle against colonialism, racism and apartheid” he remarked in his concept note.
Before giving flow to the residents he requested them to talk of their experiences and complaints and prepare for questions on their experiences and complaints before they are taken in order to get the truth that will be represented to the parliament and investigated.
Mr. Linus Lifasi Muchila, a villager, politician and farmer in his experience said people of the Zambezi region formerly known as the Caprivi have been described as tribalistic which he disagree with in sense that he is not young as he is at 50-years of age and had been to parliament for short period of time and that he had a bit of understanding of what he talks.
“Am not trying to expose other tribes and I don’t believe that people of this region are tribalistic but they are instigated by others and I have seen that in this country they are people who are counted as the most important ones, in this town of us (Katima Mulilo) where you find only certain people like Dairy location, Macaravani east and west” noted Lifasi.
Muchila added that other tribes when they go to other regions or towns they do not have particular suburbs which he described to be tribalism and in his political understanding they are doing so that in near future to stand as councilors of these locations.
Mr. Muchila pointed out that Zambezi region is discriminated as residents are afraid to voice out what they want or affects them fearing that they will be given names especially on the issue of secession that has taken longer without finding a lasting solution.
“Let’s expose issue such as that one because if we don’t speak about that we cause it to be underground, let’s talk about it and find reasons to people who want to secede this region from the rest of the country and I believe as a lawyer yourself you will be able to expose this.”
Ombudsman Walters advised Zambezi residents to voice their experiences and complaints to approach the office of the regional governor, both regional and local authority councilors, town council and traditional authorities and follow procedures to avoid land dispute and other things that may hinder developments in the region but promised that his office will seriously look into their complaints and follow them up.
“I don’t want to hear that police have removed someone on his or her land just because of not following right procedures and other complaints are political issues as an Ombudsman I cannot engage much on them”. He concluded.