By Simon Liseli
Deputy Minister of Works and Transport, James Sankwasa has commended former Namibian refugees who were in exile at Dukwi refugee camp of Botswana for returning back home.
Addressing the first group of 85 Caprivian returnees on Tuesday at Katima Mulilo Sports Complex , Sankwasa mentioned that last year (2018) he was part of a group that went to Dukwi Refugee Camp with the aim of encouraging them to return back to their motherland Namibia.
He added that during their visit they were two questions that were raised by refugees that some members that are in parliament from Zambezi region were failing to address the Caprivi question.
According to Sankwasa, national political parties are welcome in Namibia because it is a multi democratic country that accepts and believes that political achievements and goals can be achieved through negotiations, discussions and political activities are not armed struggle.
“Whoever wants to participate in politics is free to form a party in Namibia and your party will be at the ballot not through a gun, we defeat each other at the ballot which we are going to in November, that is how we fight our political differences and market ourselves” noted Sankwasa
He however said tribal parties can be formed provided Namibia’s democratic constitution is observed because it does not hinder anybody to form a political party.
Hon. Sankwasa told the returnees to feel free that they are Namibians and their rights are guaranteed.
“Should you at any stage feel harassed, you have the right to protect your rights, please let the authority know’’ he urged them.
He adviced residents of Zambezi region to avoid name calling other people as rebels because that will take them nowhere and the is no need to be called for to go for name calling or pointing fingers to make others less citizens thinking that they are better nationalities where as all citizens have equal rights.
“If you have returned back home today and someone comes to you and nickname you, its an offence report it to the authority’’ he noted.
Sankwasa appealed to all traditional authorities to treat returnees back from Botswana equal to others and have access to land as they have land rights. “Traditional Authorities should not deny their land rights because of being in Botswana as it will be unwelcome gesture… but they should be accepted as citizens’’ he remarked.
He encouraged former Namibian refugees in Botswana to apply for jobs especially those who had chance in exile to acquire qualifications, “those that are receiving applications in offices should not discriminate anybody because we all have those rights as citizens’’ he concluded.
At the same occasion former refugee who had been in exile in Canada for some years Mr. Mulife Muchali, was given opportunity to to testify and advised his fellow colleagues to understand the situation because he had also walked in the some journey.
Muchali congratulated the Namibian President Dr. Hage Geingob for making it easier for refugees in Dukwi Camp to return back home.
He also thanked the government of Botswana for keeping them safe and brought them back.
‘’Am happy with you and my brothers that is not politics, for now you are back home you are going to be part of the political machineries in the country, if you have issues to say bring them out and we iron them out. So on that am saying am happy what Botswana did to bring you back home’’ said Mulife.
He however added that eighteen (18) years ago he told refugees in Botswana’s Dukwi refugee camp and Mr. Mishake Muyongo who is exiled in Denmark to return back home. “Those who have returned they will pick up from where they have left’’ He lamented.
About 150 former Namibian refugees have been cleared by Botswana and Namibia authorities on a forceful deportation and expected to return this week.