PDM demands for revocation of Namibia – Botswana Boundary Treaty

By Quinton Chimine

Official Opposition Party, the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) Member of Parliament Mr. Geoffrey Mwilima is demanding the Namibian government to withdraw and revoke the ratified Namibia -Botswana Boundary Treaty of 2018.

Mr. Mwilima, who represents Zambezi region in the National Assembly who is also a shadow Minister of Trade and Industry joined the fray on the hot debated issue of the boundary treaty, which has angered most of the residents of Zambezi which he termed as it lacked public participations and proper consultations.

Standing (Centre) Mr. Geoffrey Mwilima, Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) Member of Parliament (MP)who represents Zambezi Region in the National Assembly and shadow Minister of Trade and Industry

He said this during the press conference held in Katima Mulilo on Tuesday that the supreme law of Namibia establishes the nation state as sovereignty without interference of its territorial integrity “Article 1 of the Namibian Constitution establishes the Republic of Namibia as sovereign nation that cannot be a poodle to another government. When we refer to sovereign, the sovereign are the Namibian people, the people of Zambezi included. As sovereign we should enjoy the resources of this country and our constitutional rights without interference from another state of country”.

He pointed out that the people of Zambezi are faced with the consequences of the treaty between Namibia and Botswana.

“The consequences of this treaty demonstrate to us that Botswana had clear intention to steal our land for its people and that the SWAPO Government did not have regard to the interest of the people of this region.”

“It is disheartening to see that the negotiations between SWAPO government and its counterpart was never on equal footing. The results show that Namibia was negotiating from a needless position of the weakness and that Botswana regarded its negotiation counterparts as poodle a lapdog.”

The disputed Situngu Island is the place where the people graze their animals and plough their fields “We now learn that PDM rejects this deal and betrayal that it depicts. We demand that the Namibian Government act responsibly and in the interest of all Namibians. The executive must protect all Namibians equally and without fear of favour”.

Mwilima said with extreme caution that “The PDM expects the government therefore, to zealously defend the territory of Namibia and the rights of Namibians to live without invasion from Botswana. Unfortunately, this is not what we are accustomed to these days. Botswana kills our citizens with impunity; take our lands and grazing as if it were no man’s land and this time around Situngu is annexed to Botswana under a pretext of an international treaty. No community or region in this country has been left helpless and undefended against foreign powers like us. In the central northern regions, the rights of Namibians to enjoy their family relations with their relatives are guaranteed with free flow of people, so much so that there are agreements for their families to obtain free medical treatment in Namibia. If this government was so good in negotiating for the right those compatriots why is the government consistently weak when it comes to negotiating the rights of the people of Zambezi region. Who will protect this region; who will save our lives?”

According to him “It is common cause that there is no region in this country whose boundaries with has been subjected to claims of ownership and invasion by foreign powers like our Region. No other region in this country has been subjected to claims of sovereignty like the Zambezi region. This peculiarity about our region makes imperative for the Presidents of this republic to have emphasised on due care and diligence from his team of negotiators. No stretch of boundary in Namibia has been subjected to so much historical maps, agreements and political arguments such as the boundary around the Zambezi strip. It was, therefore, incumbent on the presidents of this country to have kept an eye on the conduct of his ministers and members of cabinet during negotiation with Botswana.  The Namibian government ought to have conducted extensive community consultations; such as the town hall meeting conducted during 2015. It was not sufficient to include individuals from traditional authorities only. Under article 18 of our constitution administrative actions and decisions must be conducted judiciously and in the proper administration of our public affairs.”

His PDM party calls on the government to immediately commence community meetings as a matter of urgency to get a proper understanding of the boundaries, and to visit the affected families and communities.

“We call on the Namibian government, after having conducted such consultation, to reopen negotiation with Botswana and seek consensus to rectify the wrong against the people of Zambezi. Should it fail to attain such consensus, to immediately evoke dispute resolution clauses in terms of the treaty in question.”

He however, called President Dr. Hage Geingob to initiate a commission of enquiry in the conduct of his cabinet ministers to determine any possible malpractices during the process of the scanty consultation that initially took place.


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