Renaming of a fraction of the Caprivi Strip; moral justice or sheer natural rights suppression!

 Much has been written on the history of the Caprivi Strip. Perhaps the crux of the matter that needs reckoning is that history carries with it co-lateral characteristics.

Mr. Matongela Robert Tapiso
Mr. Matongela Robert Tapiso

By this I tend to mean that history should not be treated in isolation lest the biased historian may give a wrong version of the story. The history of the Caprivi goes hand-in-hand with the area of land covered as at the onset of the scramble of Africa and not necessarily the ensuing cosmetic changes in colonial administrations that followed.

In truth land is a treasure and thus misguided wishful land donation without careful scrutiny of the action can be regarded as an act of political futility. It is compelling to mention the fact that African politics is strangely tied to subconscious, non-reactive and puppet-like political party loyalty which in itself is self-defeating when actions that require change are made to happen. Apart from this, poverty which is rife in most African countries, Namibia included makes people easily cheated by bribery and carelessly let inhumane laws to be passed in their own eyes.

In fact since the regional council in Katima Mulilo is dominated by Swapo cadres, and that these cadres are afraid to be called names when they question the authenticity of certain actions, the consequence is that they tend to admit anything even if such a move may bombshell the socio-economic foundation of the very people they represent. This is true to the name change which was imposed on the people of the Caprivi.

To make matters worse, since the people of the Caprivi had just come from the 2nd August 1999 experience, a great percentage just gave in for fear of being labelled as Muyongo subjects. The reader should understand that this embattled piece of land is the reason why our first heroes and heroines perished or were mutilated at the height of political awakening and thus people should not be shy to defend it in its entirety.

It appears incredibly mysterious that immediately after it was pronounced that Caprivi was no more, many SWAPO supporters including our elite traditional authorities celebrated even when they could see that part of their economically viable land was being battered for political firm and personal schemes. In as much as this region gave SWAPO a significant overwhelming mandate to rule the inhabitants should also understand that this action also planted the seed of the old-fashioned state dictatorship.

The move to rename part of the Caprivi Strip as Zambezi destroys not only the historical edifices but also the geographical extent of our ancestral land. For all intents and purposes it appears rather weird that a great deal more time is spent looking at the negative aspects of colonialism rather than the opposite. I do not reserve any ounce of thought that Von Caprivi was a coloniser but the same coloniser played a major role to make Caprivi Strip to be part of German South West Africa.

 Today people in the Caprivi Strip are proud to say they are Namibians because of the gentleman. It is philanthropically correct to honour him like Queen Victoria, Dr David Livingstone etc. Perhaps it is marvellous to take cognisance of the fact that since we are guided by democratic ideals the idea to rename part of the Caprivi Strip signals a constant run away from firm historical foundations to shaky neo-colonial scheming that do not represent an ideal society.

From the eagle’s point of view, the boundary between Kavango and Caprivi was being shifted intentionally so that the name which could be imposed could silence people from talking about Western Caprivi as well as the original boundary location because there has never been Western Zambezi and a boundary of Zambezi region at Andara. So the status quo is that the Western part of Caprivi is gradually to be thrown in the dustbin! Oh no this is a violation of the fundamental natural rights of the people of the Caprivi.

Many people in the Caprivi have no land at all and if it is there it is always flooded in the rainy season. Fortunately the social organisation in the Caprivi is such that people still live in a cluster system. In future when the cluster system will be done away with the people who do not care to see an inch of the Caprivi Strip given away today will indeed regret for the rest of their lives. There are a lot of irregularities going on in this region. Many can bear with me that in our region Traditional Authorities are treated like civil servant or representatives of the SWAPO party.

I am tempted to say that the Caprivi region is the most badly organised land in Namibia according to international and African standards. Tribes have been organised in such a way that SWAPO is able to win elections.

 The social organisation and orientation is the worst since colonial times. Chiefs do not know their areas of jurisdiction as it used to be. Frankly speaking Traditional Leaders in our region are ensnared to fight against each other. If for argument’s sake the original boundary were not respected by SWAPO, how on earth can the same party respect traditional boundaries?  My instincts dictate that if colonial boundaries are not respected then continents, countries and even districts should cease to exist.

Boundaries are a source of identity and in an island of the blind the one eyed man is the king. At this point I am afraid to say that the renaming of the fraction of the Caprivi Strip is morally unjust and socially and psychologically oppressive and therefore utterly brainwashes the host of silent voices. It is worth noting that Zambezi region is not mathematically equivalent to Caprivi Strip simply because Caprivi Strip went across the Okavango River while conversely the Zambezi region is approximately 100km from Kongola.

I think political independence is meaningless if people languish in mental chains by adopting the ‘Choto paradigm’ which literally means accepting whatever comes regardless.

People do not eat politics but foods from the land which to my dismay a big percentage of us are being denied by the SWAPO-led government in the Caprivi Strip. What then is the use of sacrificing our God given land in the name of comradeship while the already big Kavango region benefits out of our uneconomical and indecisive token of generosity. The Youths who are custodians of cultures and traditions in this region should take note that the love of the original name of Caprivi Strip:






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