Call for Botswana Voice on Caprivi Political Dispute

We hereby call upon the Government of Botswana to take the social responsibility of publicly advising Namibia to allow a political solution on the Caprivi political dispute.

Botswana is possibly haunted by the direct or indirect economic and social burden contributed by thousands of Caprivian refugees it is hosting since 1998. And we ask, why should Botswana keep paying the prize of a political dispute in Namibia?

We do respect the bilateral and diplomatic relations between the two countries and do not intend to harm such relations.

However, Namibian political leaders should already be capable of peacefully solving domestic political disputes at 23 years after independence than shying away from a dispute they have known for about 50 years now.

On our part, since April 2012, we peacefully called for an unconditional release of all Caprivi political prisoners, a political dialogue between Namibian government and UDP leadership, and a referendum over the Caprivi political dispute. The loudest response we received were threats by the Namibian government to be shot dead or arrested.

Many other individuals and organizations have called for a political solution on this case. The latest is the former Army General, Martin Shali who publicly called for a political solution to the Caprivi high treason trial in the Windhoek Observer (newspaper) of January 24, 2013.

Many Caprivians to a total ranging from 321 to 400 have perished and buried in Botswana, away from their motherland. About 24 political prisoners have died in Namibian jails so far, while others remain languishing in Namibian jails for about 14 years now, still on trial, waiting for justice.

We were stunned on Wed, 13 Mar 2013, when Namibia’s Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Veiccoh Nghiwete issued a statement demanding “an immediate and unconditional release of all the Saharawi political prisoners, held in Moroccan jails, and a referendum to enable people of Western Sahara to exercise their right to self-determination and independence.”

The situation of Saharawi people is not so different from, and not even worse than this one of the Caprivian people. Hence, it is only logical for the Namibian government to lead by example in these two almost similar situations. That is, to practice what they preach to Morocco and sweep own house clean first.

Perhaps Namibia is just waiting for an advice from sister countries. We urge Botswana to publicly advice Namibia to allow a political solution on the Caprivi political dispute in the same manner that Namibia advised Morocco.

When people run into your home you don’t just give them shelter and food but be motivated by their faith and trust in you to find a way to address the problem that led them to escape their home – sweet home. That is our expectation for Botswana.

It is time up, Namibian government must allow a peaceful political solution over the Caprivi dispute and unconditionally release all political prisoners.

Edwin Samati
Secretary General
Caprivi Concerned Group
Cell phone: +264814960827