Archive for the General Category

Press Release

Press Release

12 November 2020

GOVERNMENT OF NAMIBIA MUST RELEASE THE BOUNDARY TREATY

Caprivi Concerned Group (CCG) notes the recent loss of lives unlawfully affected by the trigger-happy Botswana Defense Force (BDF) in Impalila Island, Caprivi Strip, with wretchedness.

Pending a joint investigation into the incidence involving killing of three siblings and another family member by the BDF, we demand government of Namibia to immediately release the boundary treaty entered into with Botswana in 2018. The document has not been availed to public and cannot be found on any public platform since its endorsement. The treaty is a public document and should therefore be availed publicly for public scrutiny.

We have lost dozens of precious lives sent off by the BDF along our common border with Botswana in the last 30 years. The BDF members frequently cross what is believed to be the boundary, harassing and killing our people, and even driving our wildlife from our territory to theirs. Caprivi was rich in wildlife but now not anymore.

To understand the attitude, actions and limits of the two governments regarding our common border and related matters, it is prudent that the boundary treaty document be availed publicly and scrutinized by traditional leaders in affected areas and individuals or interest groups.

We also call upon Government of Botswana to adopt just measures, in accordance with public and customary international law, in handling suspected poachers, measures which includes apprehending and bringing the suspects before a competent court of law where possible.

To the bereaved family, we are with you in grief and in prayers.

Mr. Edwin M Samati

Secretary General

Caprivi Concerned Group 

Namibian Police Bans UDP Demonstration

On the 11th of June 2018, the local leadership of the United Democratic Party (UDP) submitted a notice for a peaceful demonstration to the Namibian Police in Katima Mulilo as a legal procedure in accordance with the public gathering proclamation Act of 1989.

The aim of the demonstration, according to the notice, was to show solidarity with all party leaders and members who are in Namibian prisons and those in Dukwi refugee camp. However, on Friday the 15th of June 2018 a communication signed on behalf of the Inspector General of the Namibian Police was handed to the UDP leadership in which it is expressed that “it would not be advised that any demonstration, march or gathering be held in Katima Mulilo and surrounding area…” and that “all members of your organisation/party/gathering will adhere to” the directive.

The reasons advanced as the basis for the directive, which is actually a banishment of the demonstration, is that that party is not registered in Namibia and that “historically UDP propagated for the secession of the Caprivi Region from Namibia”.

Caprivi Concerned Group believes that as individuals or organised people, members or leaders of the United Democratic Party have the right to peacefully assemble and protest even if the party in not registered in Namibia, and whether the aim of the protest is to promote secession. It is not against any Namibia domestic law or public international law to seek freedom, independence or secession from a coloniser of any name or kind especially by peaceful means.

Meanwhile, on Monday the 18th of June 2018, a group of twelve (12) UDP members submitted a petition to the Executive Secretary of SADC appealing for SADC intervention in the Caprivi political dispute. They demanded that there should be a political dialogue between UDP leadership and the Namibian government before they can be sent back home since it is not safe for them to come back home where their political party is banned.

However, the twelve namely, Nelson Mbeha, Gidion Matengu, Raymond Kawana, Felix Kakula, Bernard Mainga, Bothman Ntesa, Hoster Songa, Muhinda Mubuyaeta, Francis Musilizo, Mary Chilinda, Oscar Njubei and Christina Musole, were detained the following day, on Tuesday around 12h30, by Botswana Police and are believed to be in prison somewhere in Molepolole or Lobatse.

Download Inspector General’s Response

Presentation on discrimination & tribalism

Submitted to the Ombudsman of Namibia, Adv. John Walters, in Katima Mulilo, on June 27 2017 during a public hearing on discrimination which was organised by his office.

Download PowerPoint Presentation (pptx, 3.4mb)

Video Clips

 

2016 Annual Report

CCG PETITION AFRICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN AND PEOPLES RIGHTS

Caprivi Concerned Group (CCG) pe-titioned the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (AfriCHPR), Africa’s highest human rights body which is also a quasi-judicial arm of the African Union in November 2015.

Download to read full report

CAPRIVI HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS CONTINUES

Herbert Mahoto

Herbert Mahoto

CAPRIVI HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS CONTINUES

(Herbert Mahoto Tortured by Police and Game Wardens)

A resident of Kapani village was severely tortured by a collective of Police Officers and Nature Conservation Wardens at Bukalo where he was visting a friend on Thursday, 06 October 2016 in the afternoon.

The mob accused Mahoto, whom they found in a house, of not only being a poacher but also a “rebel” and a member of Caprivi Concerned Group. After a group of game guards came to the home where he was, and searched for whatever they were looking for and found nothing, hours later another group comprising of Morgan Saisai, Francis Satamba, a certain Victor, and a Nampol Warrant Officer Kaunda came and handcuffed him.

Mahoto did not resist. However, after handcuffing him, they started assaulting him with sticks, fists and kicks. Morgan Saisai asked the victim why he is found in Bukalo Area when he is from Linyanti, and they continued beating him while handcuffed!

They asked me “where is your gun”, I told them that “I don’t have a gun and they continued to beat me, they put sand in my mouth and nose then continued kicking and stood on my chest and stomach. I fainted, they poured water on me and when I got back my consciousness, they continued assaulting me. Warrant Officer Kaunda even pointed an assault riffle (AK47) to me, closer to my head and said if I don’t tell them where the “guns” are he would kill me, Mahoto recalled!

When the mob was tired, they drove with Mahoto to Ngoma Police Station where he was kept for almost two hours before he was ferried to Katima Mulilo Police Station where he stayed for another two hours as Officers on duty refused to take him to the Hospital to get medical treatment for the injuries sustained.

When he was finally taken to the hospital he was admitted and Police Officers were assigned to guard him. By Monday 10 October, no official charges were layed against him by Police or Nature Conservation, but while he was still admitted in the hospital Police Officers requested him on this day to sign a release sheet indicating that he is released from Police Custody but he refused!

Meanwhile, Mahoto have opened a dockect against the perpetrators (CR 73/10/2016) on charges of assault with aggravating circumstances, torture, theft, malicious damage to property, and illegal detention. When he was discharged from the hospital, he was not taken back into police custody since there no official charges against him.

Mahoto sustained a fracture to his left arm and bruises all over his body! He also lost his cellphone and other materials in the process, presumably stollen by those who assaulted him. This comes at a time when Namibia is expected to respond to a letter from the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights, and at a time that Namibian government denies related human rights violations in Caprivi Strip towards members of Caprivi Concerned Group.

image

Morgan Saisai is the same who assaulted and tortured Mr. Robert Salukombe in 2014 in the same way as he did to Mr. Mahoto. In the case of Mr. Salikombe, (See http://www.nshr.org.na/index.php?module=News&func=display&sid=1992) who as well personally opened a criminal case against Saisai and his accomplices (CR 08/04/2014), NamRights urged “MET Minister Uahekua Herunga to personally ensure that Warden Morgan Saisai and his alleged accomplices have been instantly suspended pending the finalization of Police investigation of the TCIDT allegations”, but nothing was done.

Similarly, the communication from the Chairperson of the AfriCHPR recommended, inter alia, that Government of Namibia “provides clarification to the Commission regarding the alleged violations, and refrains from committing acts of harassment, intimidation, enforced disappearance, torture and ill-treatment, arbitrary detention, arbitrary restriction on the right to freedom of association and assembly;and ensures that those responsible for the above-stated alleged violations are held accountable in accordance with the relevant international and regional standards.

According to Article 5 of the Responsibility of States in Internationally Wrongful Acts, as adoped by the International Law Commission in 2001, the conduct of a person or entity …empowered by the law of the State to exercise elements of the governmental authority shall be considered an act of the State under international law, provided the person or entity is acting in that capacity in the particular instance. Suffices to say, the conduct of Morgan Saisai and his accomplices who acted wrongly in their official capacities is construed as the conduct of the State (the Namibian government), and should be considered as a continuation of, or complementing, the human rights violations report against Namibia which are before the AfriCHPR.

Namibia was expected to report back on the implementation of the Provisional Measures granted, within fifteen (15) days of receipt of the letter,but failed to do so within the given time. It is also important to report that Government of Namibia also failed to submit its observations on the addimissibilty of the matter to the Commission within the months which was given.

Ends.

Edwin Samati,

Secretary General

Caprivi Concerned Group.

AFRICA’S TOPMOST HUMAN RIGHTS BODY REQUESTS NAMIBIA TO REFRAIN FROM CAPRIVI STRIP VIOLATIONS

image

NAMIBIAN RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES INC
(FORMERLY NATIONAL SOCIETY FOR HUMAN RIGHTS)
Head Office  Liberty Center  116 John Meinert Street
Windhoek West  P.O. Box 23592  Windhoek  Namibia
Tel: +264 61 236 183 or +264 61 253 447  Fax: +264 61 234 286
E-mail: nshr@nshr.org.na  Website: www.nshr.org.na
September 9 2016

BREAKING NEWS

AFRICA’S TOPMOST HUMAN RIGHTS BODY REQUESTS
NAMIBIA TO REFRAIN FROM CAPRIVI STRIP VIOLATIONS

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (“the Commission”), based in The Gambian capital of Banjul, on September 2 2016 has requested Namibian President, Dr. Hage G Geingob, to “intervene” and “ensure” that the Government of Namibia (“GoN”) “provides clarification” and “refrains from” as well as to “fully” investigate systematic violations of a whole range of basic human rights and fundamental freedoms in and about the Zambezi Region as the Caprivi Strip is now known.

The human rights being violated include “acts of harassment, intimidation, enforced disappearance, torture and ill-treatment, arbitrary detention, arbitrary restriction on the right to freedom of association and assembly”, the Commission says. The rights concerned are enumerated in the 1981 African Charter on Human Rights and Peoples Rights (“ACHPR”).

Acting in accordance with Rule 98(4) of the Rules of Procedures of the Commission, its current Chairperson of the Commission, Advocate Pansy Tlakula, wrote to President Geingob requesting him to report back on Namibia’s implementation of the interim measures “within fifteen (15) days of receipt of this letter”.

The decision of by the Commission to act on the Caprivi Strip violations is the direct result of Communication no. 595/15 which had been submitted to the Commission by Caprivi Concerned Group (“CCG”), the leading civil rights and pro-independence group in occupied Caprivi Strip. Concerned Caprivians formed CCG (http://www.capriviconcernedgroup.com/about-us/) in 2012 in order to create to peacefully create awareness among the local population on the right of the Caprivi Strip people to self-determination as contemplated under public international law as well as to secure the release of all political prisoners from the disputed former British territory.

Namibia claims that it has inherited the Caprivi Strip from apartheid South Africa upon independence on March 21 1990. On June 24 1999, GoN a formally annexed Caprivi Strip in terms of its Application of Laws to the Eastern Caprivi Zipfel Act 1999 (Act 10 of 1999) thereby extending the applicability of Namibian laws to the said territory.
GoN also claims that Caprivi Strip was part of the German colony of German South West Africa (“GSWA”) which ceased to exist on July 9 1915 after British-controlled Union South African forces defeated German Defense troops and liberated GSWA during World War I. GSWA is the predecessor state of Namibia.

In critical ruling in 1908, however, the GSWA Imperial Court in Windhoek ruled that German law was not applicable in the Caprivi Strip as the said territory was not part of GSWA!

NamRights, which has been campaigning against gross human rights violations in Caprivi Strip since Namibian independence, urges GoN to fully comply with the request of the Commission.
Independent African States and members of the African Union established the Commission in 1987 to supervise compliance by African states with the provisions of ACHPR.
END

Founded in December 1989, NAMRIGHTS is Namibia’s leading non-governmental human rights monitoring and advocacy organization. NGO in special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations

Download PDF

commissions-letter-to-geingob

I AM A VICTIM OF POLITICAL PERSECUTION

Caprivi Concerned Group

I AM A VICTIM OF POLITICAL PERSECUTION

On April 21 2016, which is three months ago, I was served with a letter of termination of service by the Zambezi Education Regional Director, Mr. Austin Samupwa, on account of abscondment, in terms of Section 24(5)(a)(1) of the Public Service Act (1995), apparently because “30 days lapsed” without me reporting on duty.

This followed his frustrated attempts to forcefully transfer me to Nankuntwe CS. His efforts to force me away from Kaliyangile CS went to extents of instructing the management of Kaliyangile CS to prevent me from signing in the attendance register, to remove me from the time table by allocating my subjects to other teachers, to invite Police Officers to come and chase me from there, and the HoD to take my chair and table from the staffroom.

I was a teacher at Kaliyangile CS since 2008, and one of the best teachers at that school. As much as I want to continue teaching there, and as learners still need me there, does not mean I wanted to be there forever. This is why I responded positively to the initiation of transferring me from that school, by the Director’s namesake Mr. Austin (Luyana), and it is also why I arranged a cross transfer which the Director rejected without reasons. I was willing to be transferred, however, where to be transferred to requires serious consideration, not only in my case but, by any employee who wish to be transferred.

There are those in the political and security circles, particularly in SWAPO and the State Security, who since 2012 have been hunting me down – even wishing me dead – as the Secretary General of Caprivi Concerned Group (CCG). It appears that through my supervisor at my professional work, the Education Director who is also a regional Mobilizer for SWAPO in Caprivi Strip, they found an immediate assailant against me!

In April 2012, the Governor of Caprivi region, Hon. Lawrence Sampofu, went on local radio station with Hon. Rafael Mbala, and he warned CCG leaders to stop “talking about those people who attacked in Katima Mulilo in 1999” because they risk losing their jobs. Mind you, barely a month ago the same Governor repeated his call for “responsible authorities” to deal with CCG leaders, and just yesterday the Inspector General of Nampol issued a warning to CCG.

The threats of losing our jobs as CCG leaders were egoed at several SWAPO leadership meetings in 2012, and in rallies particularly in 2014. Even the Councillor of Sibbinda then, in 2012, mobilised people to chase me from Kaliyangile CS but the community resisted, and I was lucky that Mr. Lovemore Lupalezwi, the Regional Director then was not a SWAPO machinery but professionally levelheaded and politically cool!

From day one, at the genesis of the transfer issue I was told by Mr. Samupwa to resign or he fires me, just for indicating that I am willing to be transferred closer to town! Following the threat to be fired, I aranged a cross tranfer and the colleague I was to cross with accepted, but, as I stated earlier, it was rejected by the Director with no reason. The Director later decided to transfer me to Nankuntwe CS, knowing very well that I would obviously refuse to go far from town and my family because I had indicated to him that I prefer to be transferred near town, or be transferred to Mayuni SSS.

Strangely, the date to report at Nankuntwe CS was not stated in the transfer letter presumably because the Director never really wanted me to report at Nankuntwe CS, nor to remain at Kaliyangile CS, but wanted me out of the system by resignation or dismissal, as he had earlier demanded me to resign and threatened to dismiss me if I don’t resign. This is probably why a new teacher was quickly appointed to the position I was “transferred to” at Nankuntwe CS within nine (9) working days from 16 February – the first day he claims I was supposed to report at that school.

He knew well that by preventing me from signing the attendance register at Kaliyangile CS and quickly “replacing me” at Nankuntwe CS, I would virtually have no where to report so that he would have a basis, albeit flawed, to later claim “abscondment”, and therefore fulfil his expressed intention to dismiss me. This means I was actually dismissed on the 16th of February 2016 when I was prevented from signing in the attendence register, or on 26 February 2016 when someone was appointed at Nankuntwe CS, but the dismissal had to wait for 30 days!

Despite having appealled to the Pamenant Secretary against the forced transfer in time, she only responded to a transfer complaint five days following my subsquent dismissal.

However, I was at all material times present at Kaliyangile CS as my duty station despite being prevented from signing the attendance register, teaching and even prevented from seating in on a chair in the staffroom. Moreover, all communications and summons from the Director, through the Inspector, the Principal, and even Nampol, found me at Kaliyangile CS. If he wished to bring me before a disciplinary hearing for “abscondment” or “absence without leave”, or “refusing a forced transfer”, it was possible because I was reachable.

With regard to the transfer, according to the Public Service Act (PSA) of 1995, section 23 (2)(a), any staff member, in the public service, other than permanent secretaries is transferred by the Permanent Secretary – not by the Director. However, invoked with the principle of audi alterum partem (listening to the affected party).

On the dismissal, Section 5 (1) of PSA states that the discharge of any staff member from the Public Service shall be made by the Prime Minister, not by the Director, on the recommendation of the Public Service Commission. This should be invoked with consideration of section 33(1) of the Labour Act (2007) which states that “an employer must not, whether notice is given or not, dismiss an employee (a) without a valid and fair reason”.

It must be noted here that the Director is not only learned, but have been a supervisor in the Ministry of Education for more than 15 years and cannot therefore claim ignorance over who has the authority to transfer or dismiss teachers. Besides, ignorance of the law is not a defence in law.

As a matter of fact, I am not the only one who resisted a forced transfer. There are a number of School Principals or teachers who rejected forced transfers but they were not dismissed. There are more serious cases which have been put under the carpet by the same Director. For example, his own brother, a teacher, impregnated a learner but he was not dismissed. The Director is aware of this case but took no disciplinary action against his brother.

I am a victim of political persecution, despite that Section 30 (1) of the public service Act (Act 13 of 1995) provides that a staff member may (a) be a member of a political party; (b) attend, preside at or speak at a public political meeting; (c) draw up or publish any writing to promote the interests of any political party, among others.

However, justice will be served very soon.

Edwin M Samati

Former teacher, now Law Student

Annual Report 2015

Download the Annual Report 2015

Do Caprivians Constitute a Nation?

Caprivi Concerned Group

Do Caprivians Constitute a Nation?

Dear Editor, allow us to respond to an article or letter by “Radical Teachers” which was published last Friday in The Namibian (09 October 2015), titled “Freedom for Zambezians and Basters?”

These teachers argued that the right to self determination is decided “by whether or not a group (of people) could be regarded as a nation”. Without substantiation, they stated that Caprivians “undoubtedly do not constitute a nation” in contemporary politics.

In political science, a nation is a large body of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular territory. Surely, from this definition, for all who know the culture, tradition and political history of Caprivians, it can be concluded that Caprivians constitute a nation. They are a distinct people with a common culture, tradition, a common political history, and are concentrated in a specific internationally defined territory.

If being a nation is the only determining factor to qualify for the right to political independence, then Caprivians must be free! Radical Teachers called on Namibians to deliberate on secession and the right to self determination, like the Namibian Editorial of September 18 2015 titled “Openly Debate Secession, for the sake of peace”!

If secession is the appropriate concept for the issue of Caprivi, the point of departure in analyising the issue should be the six internationally recognised criteria for self determination which were used to analyse secession of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Macedonia.

The criteria is: 1) existence of a distinct, self defined group which overwhelmingly supports secession, 2) legitimate claim to the territory, 3) a pattern of systematic discrimination or exploitation against the self defined group, 4) central government’s rejection of compromise solutions, 5) prospects of a viable territory, people and state, 6) effects of granting or refusing self determination to the group on regional and international peace.

Now, to what extent do Caprivians meet the criteria above? This is the context within which a fair argument for or against Caprivi secession should be debated or advanced. Arguing within this criteria will filter unnecessary arguments which may not only derail the debate but also infringe others’ rights.

Furthermore, what is the legal framework of secession or political independence in Namibia? There is no article or section in the Namibian constitution which explicitly reads “any group of people have the right to secede”. The right to secession or political independence is embedded in the freedom of thought and expression, and the right to engage in peaceful political activity. These rights cannot be trimmed by any other person, people or law outside oneself.

Besides, the UN and African Charters explicitly guarantees that all peoples have the right to self determination, to determine their political status. Namibia ratified these statutes. There are several ICJ opinions which support the right to self determination.

Article 20(1) of the African (Banjul) Charter states that “colonized or oppressed peoples shall have the right to free themselves from the bonds of domination by resorting to any means recognized by the international community.” Doesn’t this right apply to Caprivians, as a people?

 

By Concerned Caprivians

—-

Link:  http://www.namibian.com.na/index.php?page=read&id=32624

 

 

Freedom for Zambezians and Basters?

namibian-logo-main

Freedom for Zambezians and Basters?

WHAT should a left-wing standpoint be on the right to self-determination? This theme is of huge consequence given that the trial of the Zambezi (Caprivi) political prisoners is finally coming to an end.

It is certainly hoped that those prisoners who were recently released would tell their stories about being tortured and about being incarcerated for so long. The Namibian nation should know who these torturers are and steps should be taken against them.

As Namibians we should also use this historical moment to take up the challenge posed in that marvellous editorial ‘Openly debate secession, for the sake of peace’ (The Namibian, 18 September 2015). The Namibian nation must deliberate on the questions of secession and the right to self-determination in a peaceful and democratic fashion. The heavy-handed and violent repression from Swapo has failed to resolve these disputes and many crimes were committed by the Namibian security forces in the process.

The right to self-determination is decided first and foremost by whether or not a group could be regarded as a nation. And, this is a political and historical matter. It should be kept in mind that the colonial-apartheid rulers distorted the (cultural) Stalinist definition of ‘nation’ – which actually clearly differentiated ‘nation’ from ‘tribe’ – to try and justify their oppression.

As the editorial stated, the idea of Rehoboth as an independent state is laughable. Of course, the same applies to the Zambezi region. With our background of apartheid and colonialism, this talk about secession is divisive and sounds like us being dragged back into the nightmare of racism and tribalism. The people of the Zambezi or Rehoboth undoubtedly do not constitute a ‘nation’ in the contemporary political sense of the concept.

The left-wing must realise that Zambezians and Basters do not have the right to self-determination as we must never pander to tribalism – there should be no place for Zambezi or Baster tribalism in the Land of the Brave. Tribal groups do not have the right to self-govern as the nation is primary.

Let the debates on the right to self-determination and secession continue.
Radical Teachers
Windhoek

—–

http://www.namibian.com.na/index.php?page=read&id=32624