Mr. Editor , Allow us a space in your newspaper to respond to the statements made by the Refugee Administration Commissioner in Namibia Mr. Nkrumah Mushelenga in the Caprivi Vision newspaper of March 24, 2012.
The Tripartite Commission had always wanted to meet us in the Refugee Camp in order to persuade us to opt for repatriation to return to Namibia. This Tripartite has met 18 times since its formation in 1999 in their attempts to Repatriate Caprivians living in Botswana for the past 14 years.
The Namibian Government, Botswana Government and UNHCR forms the Tripartite Commission that is aimed to repatriate us (Caprivians) back to Namibia. It is in their desperate attempts that the Namibian Government purposed to organise for that meeting which took place on the 28 November 2011.
We accepted to meet them because they always blame Botswana to be harbouring us or not taking us by force to Namibia/Caprivi, it is for this reason that we agreed to meet them so that we clear the dust.
After been consulted by Botswana Government for a meeting with the Namibian Government, we agreed and this happened after we rejected their proposal for GO and SEE come and TELL mission which needed us to Come to Caprivi in order to observe the situation for ourselves so that we can decide to repatriate back home.
We told Botswana Government that we are not going to indulge in such a mission because we know the situation at home. People are not allowed to express themselves on issues affecting them, some are in prison, people who repatriated some were killed and others ran back to Botswana, while others are languishing in prisons without fair trial.
We made ourselves clear that repatriation is not a solution to our issue since the Caprivi case is a political issue that needed to be resolved politically.
The Government of Namibia organised people at home, the Indunas, repatriates, parents, retired teachers and security personnel to come and talk to us saying our parents are suffering at home, there is peace and development at home and promises that we are going to get IDs and Birth certificates just at the border, all of us we are going to be employed and many other promises.
We responded to them not the way Mr. Mushelenga said, we asked parents and all those who were organised that, when in the history of SWAPO struggle did people that were in exile followed by their parents to campaign them to return home?
Secondly we asked them, during the Struggle of SWAPO why did Mr. Mushelenga, the High Commissioner Mr. Hidino Hishongwa and many others did not abandon the Struggle because their parents were suffering at home? No one answered those questions.
We then asked Mr. Hidino Hishongwa ( Namibian ambassador to Botswana) about the merger signed on November 5, 1964, whether he was still young that time, he said he is very much aware of it, we also asked him about the act of parliament to annex Caprivi to Namibia in 1999 when we were already out of the Country to seek Independence, why the Namibian Government did not consult Caprivians on the Matter, and why such an act if Caprivi is part of Namibia? NO, nothing was said, but he kept on nodding his head;- the permanent Secretary for Political Affairs in the office of the President Mr. Augustine Makgonazothe interjected by inquiring from the Ambassador Mr. Hidino Hishongwa whether there was such an agreement? And he said YES.
We then told him to inform his Government that they should be brave, democratic and political minded enough to accept that what they are doing to the Caprivian people is nothing else but true colonisation, black to black oppression which do not differ in any way with the apartheid South African regime to then South West Africa colonisation, and that is what forced the OPO and SWANU to go into exile.
Similarly that is what led Caprivians also to go out where we met with SWAPO leadership in Zambia and later agreed on the merger since we were fighting a common enemy.
We want to mention here that there is an abuse of UNHCR office in Namibia, we are surprised why UN an apolitical/ none partisan organisation is allowing Mr. Mushelenga a politician to harass refugees who ran away from him.
It is the Government of Mr. Mushelenga that forced us out of the Country and UNHCR sends the same person to harass us in our refugee country Botswana. We are going to follow this with UN.
This is the same man who is taking advantage on us who seems to be not acquainted or ignorant of the international standards that governs refugees because in his desperation had always asked Botswana Government to take us back by force.
It is not surprising, if they are capable and act bravely to trample and crash their own property (LAW) how on earth they could regard someone’s property.
We thank Botswana Government for their respect of the international instruments that they did not listen to their counter part the Namibian Government.
Therefore we would like to clear the dust by saying; people who were repatriated on December 13,2011 are people who registered for repatriation in 2009 but because they were few they could not repatriate those fearing costs of transport.
Let us also mention here that what Mr. Mushelenga said is not only contrary to what was the situation in that meeting but let him prove to his Government the number of people he said are to repatriate why only 27 people, mostly young ones and Mbukushus from Kavango who registered as Caprivians.
It must be made clear that the UDP leadership is determined and not afraid to meet the Namibian Government and discuss the Caprivi issue without fear, we have actually proposed in our submission we gave them, that a Referendum be conducted in the Caprivi to test the wishes of the Caprivian people and for the Namibian Government to refrain from ruling Caprivi by force.
The Caprivian people live in constant fear and are forced to join the ruling party for their safety. For how long are we going to live in this fear?
Coming back to the meeting of the 28 November2011, we did not just spoke by word of mouth because we know the Government of Namibia; we gave the UNHCR, Botswana Government and Mr. Mushelenga and his Ambassador Mr.Hishongwa a petition where we responded in detail our position regarding to the issue.
Speechless as he was, the only response after our submission was that “where there is will there is a way”.
This is quite contrary to what the meeting was when he said “We could see signs like smile on their faces and we did not expect all of them to come back … I can assure you that very soon they will come back”.
We hope the commissioner need someone to probe him to unfold the meaning of his statement and the document we gave him on behalf of his Government.
We attach the submission for those who want to follow facts, however, we do not want to comment on the issue of Mr. Walubita Conard but all we know is that he is a Caprivian been tortured by the Namibian Government like they do to any Caprivian so we are not surprised.
Don’t be cheated!!!
From Caprivians in exile.