The Government of Botswana and United Nations High Commission for Refugees has taken a harsh stand against the Caprivians who successfully convinced the Lobatse high Court to stop the intended deportation of the Caprivians back to Namibia on a given deadline the 11th of July 2018.
Since after the Court ruling of the 25 August 2018, the office of the Settlement Commandant ceased to avail certain services to us saying we are ‘NO LONGER REFUGEES’. Those whose Refugee Identity Cards expired are not renewed, as a result one is closed to all services that require identity Cards.
They ceased to write any letter in case a Caprivian wants recommendation or reference letter to any other institutions. They are avoiding such because if they are to write they were going to write that one is the former refugee or illegal immigrant as a result one would not access the services intended.
Unfortunately, UNHCR, a humanitarian organization lashed out tough humanitarian and social sanctions to the Caprivians; mainly for losing our Refugee status.
With immediate effect, the following services are terminated to the Caprivians:
- Attending HIV workshops, livelihood, agricultural, human traffic awareness workshops early pregnancy awareness workshops and many more.
- Caprivians are not to benefit from livelihood programs, these are kind of small projects funded by UNHCR to assist Refugees to supplement their minimal monthly rations.
- They are not welcome to participate from social activities; these manly are youth programs that are under taken by Skillshare International Botswana the Implementing partners for UNHCR.
- They are exempted from food baskets that are issued to elderly people and patients.
- They are exempted from benefiting eyeglasses/spectacles in case of eye sight problems.
- They are exempted from volunteer piece jobs in the Camp that are sponsored by UNHCR.
- Exempted from special health cases that needs referral to private Clinics.
The UNHCR staff says, they will only allow the monthly food ration and allow school going kids to continue.
It is true, we say we are punished because we are termed to have refused to go back on the tripartite agreement signed 2001 between Namibia, Botswana and UNHCR.
‘’ we have never refused to go back home, Caprivi is ruled illegally with a gun point’’
It is clear that Participants in the tripartite Commission are missing the point and misinforming their principals and the world. WE HAVE NEVER EVEN ONE DAY THAT WE SAID WE DO NOT WANT TO GO HOME. It has been our desire and continues to appeal to SADC, AU and international Community to facilitate for peaceful talks between us and the Namibian Government.
There is a political problem that has caused untold suffering and loss of many Caprivian lives. We fled from Caprivi Strip unwillingly crossing rivers infested with crocodiles, passing through dangerous animal parks. Only by the grace of God we arrived in Botswana.
In the year 2015 we were tricked by the Honorable Minister Shaw Kgathi through their unfair dictatorial and imposed tripartite commission to accompany them in a Go and SEE come and TELL mission. We were bundled back to Botswana with armed Security forces escort just after a day of our arrival. We were shivering like nothing and it was by the grace of God that we came back.
The botched mission was blamed on us that we should have not asked the security in terms of the Caprivi political environment. We should have not asked if UDP our party was banned, we should have not asked the SWAPO and CANU agreement of the 5th November 1964 and many other taboo questions to Namibia.
The reason that other Caprivians returned back home and they are safe is unfounded and should not hold water. Whoever is repatriated knows from the back of his/her mind that you will survive because you will join SWAPO, you will not ask why Caprivians are in prisons for so long, you are not ask the merger agreement of the 5th November 1964, you will never ask why Caprivians were not consulted when Caprivi was annexed to Namibia on the 24th June 1999.
From the day of your arrival you are assigned security personnel who watch your ways daily. You are not allowed to be found in a group of more than three people, you will be considered to be conspiring to secede from Namibia.
‘’WE ARE NO LONGER REFUGEES ‘’
Since 31st December 2015, we lost our Refugee status. Namibia says ‘’we don’t want the 16 people to come to Namibia, but everyone is welcome. The main intention of SWAPO Government is to permanently deny some Caprivians to return to Caprivi; why because SWAPO believes or understands that the prohibited people, upon arrival they will influence people or ask the Government the above mentioned questions. Why fear?
They want to keep Caprivians under hostage throughout their lives. What democracy and freedom is that? Namibia should not fear at all. If they have facts to argue on the Caprivi history they should agree to a dialogue.
Intimidation, harassment and torture will not going to solve the problem. We are surprised to learn that UNHCR joins the two Governments to silence us over a matter that violates our fundamental human rights. UNHCR is giving a blind eye to atrocities committed by Namibia since ever. There are mass graves in the Caprivi, people are in prisons over a matter that is genuine and Namibia refuses to resolve the problem and still UNHCR put on a blind eye.
There is no rationale to think that since Namibia is refusing to solve the Caprivi Political problem, then the best thing to do is to take back the Caprivians. The irrational human weakness to favor, stand along and support the friends, the powerful at the expense of the feeble provokes the anger of God.
All leadership and point of authority comes from God, leaders should humble themselves, they are servants of the people of God alone who is the ultimate ruler.
We are sorry that we are being perceived wrongly to be hard people who are refusing to return home; others are telling us that ‘’ when you are accommodated into someone’s house and later decides to chase you from his own house, why do you refuse to leave?”
We are been humiliated daily as if we are refusing to go home; people have a wrong picture about us. Please, if you are good hearted and peaceful stand with us then you will be surprised that we shall all go home happily with dignity and safety assurance when the problem is solved.
All what we need is Namibia to agree to seat and talk peacefully to resolve our problem. UNHCR should not punish us, Botswana should love us, and we have no problem with Batswana but should not agree to be used to fight the war in a wrong way. Let Namibia to solve the Caprivi problem.
SADC wash hands, AU is silent, UN is silent, and the International Community is also silent. But one day they will all talk very early in the morning, for things will turn around one day. Conflict and peace settlements in the region are among the mandates that SADC ought to foster, in order to enhance democracy and good governance.
They should not wait to intervene when more lives are lost. The incidence of the 2nd of August 1999 in the Caprivi Strip was condemned by many people, Caprivians resorted to fighting when they realized that their voice is not heard and silenced with intimidations. More innocent lives were lost in that event; peace should be guarded by all means.
NO LONGER REFUGEES BUT REMAINS HUMAN BEINGS CREATED EQUALLY WITH ALL OTHER PEOPLE IN THE IMAGE OF THE ALMIGHT GOD.
We want peaceful talks not war!!!