Archive for the Press Releases Category

Press Statement

Caprivi Concerned Group

Caprivi Concerned Group

27 June 2018​​​​​​​​                                                                         Katima Mulilo,
Caprivi Strip

Press Statement

We are here today to send a message of peace to the United Democratic Party (UDP), the Namibian and Botswana governments, and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), as the way forward.

We have carefully observed recent events in Botswana and here at home which are meant to frustrate the United Democratic Party and its people. These events include the detention and threats of forceful deportation of Caprivians from Botswana; and the disapproval of a UDP peaceful demonstration here at home by the Namibian police two weeks ago.

All along we have been calling for political dialogue and referendum to resolve the Caprivi political dispute, and we have not changed our position in this regard. Caprivi political dispute is a legal and political argument of whether Caprivi Strip is legally part of Namibia or not, and whether majority of Caprivians appreciate being Namibians or they wish to govern themselves. This is a dispute in which lives have been lost, traditional and political leaders are in foreign lands, while some have been tortured and even imprisoned. Hence, it has to be handled objectively, with humility and diligence.

We wish to report here that since having submitted our petition to Government of Namibia last year on August 30, demanding dialogue between UDP and government, we have not received any response up to today. Through our efforts, we learnt that our petition is collecting dust in the Namibian Attorney General’s office. This is the attitude which may compel others to use violence in order to be heard.

Nonetheless, we are still saying, let peace be the means to the end and peace be the end. It is often stated that it is better to be wise than to be strong. There is also a saying that one who uses force fears reasoning. We expect SADC, the two governments of Namibia and Botswana, and the UDP, to exercise wisdom with humility much more than force with arrogance to resolve the Caprivi political dispute.

It is therefore our sincere request that the United Democratic Party and the Namibian government should engage in a mature political dialogue as soon as possible for the sake of peace, human security and political certainty. If UDP leaders and members in exile are to come back home, they should be allowed to promote, and work towards achieving, their political objectives peacefully.

On the other hand, Namibia as a constitutional democracy, must make a clear undertaking that Article 17(1) and Article 21(1)(a, d and e) of the Namibian constitution, which allows inter alia political activities and freedom of expression, shall apply to UDP as a party, its leadership, membership and supporters, as they apply to all political parties and persons in Namibia.

SADC, Botswana and other non-state actors, have a duty to facilitate discussions around this key negotiation point. We thank Botswana Council of Churches (BCC), Ditshwanelo – Botswana Centre for Human Rights, and Botswana National Front (BNF) – an opposition party in Botswana, for sympathising with our people in Botswana and for calling for further negotiations between the refugees and the two governments to find an amicable solution.

It is our humble appeal to them that they continue engaging and advising their government accordingly, and we wish that similar organisations in Namibia will also properly advise their government on the importance of dialogue to resolve political issues.

As Caprivi Concerned Group, we are not saying Caprivi must be free today, but we are saying that the United Democratic Party, or the refugees in general, should be accorded the right to be heard; their human and political rights be protected; and be given appropriate remedy regarding their demands and in accordance with international laws.

We are aware that there is a delegation from Namibia going to meet Caprivians in Botswana tomorrow. This delegation should be informed that the issue is not whether they want to come back home or not, nor whether we want them to come back home or not, but whether they will have the right to engage in peaceful political activities to advance their particular political objectives when they come home.

If you force them back home, where their human and political rights are curtailed or absent, we cannot rule out the possibility of political fire here again which might be more severe than that of 2 August 1999. The best way to prevent war is to remove any conditions which may be a cause of political frustration, such conditions includes violent suppression of political opinions and rights.

Those with ears should hear, and the wise should do the right thing.

We pray that God intervenes.

Thank you.

________________
Mr. Edwin Samati
Secretary General
Caprivi Concerned Group
concernedcaprivians@gmail.com
www.capriviconcernedgroup.com

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

Sacred Petition Of Concerned Caprivians

Caprivi Concerned Group

Sacred Petition Of Concerned Caprivians
TO​: THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA

FROM​: CAPRIVI CONCERNED GROUP

DATE​: 30 August 2017

SUBJECT​: POLITICAL SOLUTION OVER THE CAPRIVI POLITICAL DISPUTE

1. INSPIRED by the wishes and aspirations of Caprivian people for peace and unity, justice and equality, including the inherent dignity and inalienable rights provided to all members of the human kind;
2. REFERENCE to Article I of the United Nations Chater (1945), the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1976) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1976), Article 20(1) of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (1986), and SADC Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation [Article 11( b)];
3. CONSIDERING the fact the territory demarcated and known as German-South West Africa in 1884/1885 did not constitute the territory currently known as the Caprivi Strip, and that this strip was only made a German Sphere of Influence by virtue of the Anglo-Germany Treaty (1890) which did not confer territorial rights of any legal nature to German (SWA) over the Strip;
4. HAVING read and understood a ruling of 1908 in Windhoek District High Court which indicates that German (General) Law had no validity in the Caprivi Strip, as those who were arrested, and charged for crimes committed, in the strip could not be convicted by the honorable Court for the same reason – that Germany Law had no validity in Caprivi Strip;
5. AWARE that Germany was stripped of its colonial possessions (including Caprivi Strip) as stated in the Treaty of Versailles (1919), then in 1920 South West Africa (now Namibia) was placed under the mandate of the League of Nations, while the Strip remained under South Africa as a separate entity;
6. SURE that Proclamation 147 of 1939 which provided that “no Act of Parliament or ordinance of South West Africa will apply to the territory known as the Caprivi Strip” have never been repealed and is therefore still in force;
7. ALSO AWARE that in 1972, Caprivi had its own Legislative Council, national anthem, emblem and flag;
8. KNOWING that certain laws specific to South West Africa and subsequently Namibia were not applicable to Caprivi Strip until an annexation law, Application of Laws to the Eastern Caprivi Zipfel Act 1999 (Act 10 of 1999) was promulgated only on June 24, 1999, extending the laws of Namibia to the Strip, without the consent of the Caprivian population;
9. RECALLING that in 1963 Caprivians under the leadership of Brendan Simbwae and the moral support of all traditional leaders in Caprivi Strip formed a national political party, the Caprivi African National Union (CANU), with the objective of seeing Caprivi Strip or Caprivians free and independent; and that the same year the two traditional leaders in the Caprivi Strip petitioned the United Nations (UN) demanding freedom and independence of Caprivi Strip;
10. AWARE that in 1964, on November 5, a significant political merger agreement was signed between South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) and Caprivi African National Union (CANU) to fight a common enemy, the South African regime that was illegally occupying the two countries, South West Africa and Caprivi Strip, whereby it was also agreed that at independence Caprivians will be asked if they want to be independent or be part of Namibia;
11. INSPIRED by the selfless contribution of Caprivians such as Brendan Simbwae who mysteriously died in the hands of South African forces, Mishake Muyongo who is now exiled in Denmark, Induna Masida who was roasted over an open fire while his subjects were observing in horror, Judea Lyaboloma whose corpse after being killed by South African forces was displayed at his village for public view as a warning, and many fallen Caprivian PLAN fighters, to the liberation struggle of Namibia;
12. RECALLING human rights violations committed by the Namibian government on Caprivians which included “mass arbitrary arrests and detentions, summary executions, torture, enforced disappearances and prolonged detention without trial.” as admitted in 1999 by then Namibia Defence Minister, Erkki Nghimtina in saying ‘definitely we made some mistakes regarding human rights abuses’
13. REMINDED of the history of arbitrary detentions of Caprivians by SWAPO in 1965 in Tanzania which began with the detention of George Mutwa and Alfred Tongo Nalishuwa at Kongwa for complaining that the Caprivians were being discriminated against by SWAPO.
14. TAKING INTO ACOUNT the confession by Namrights Director, Mr. Phil ya Nangoloh on the 13th of September 2010 when he stated that “having been myself a junior PLAN officer in the reconnaissance detachment between 1974 and 1975, I know that atrocities (such as torture, execution and enforced disappearances) have been committed against, among others, Caprivi African National Union (CANU) followers. I have personally never taken part, whatsoever, in those atrocities. Nevertheless, I sincerely and unequivocally apologize for having been unable to publicly speak out against such wrongs for fear for my own life.”
15. HAVING ALREADY resolved in April 2012, and therefore determined to peacefully seek an amicable political solution to the Caprivi high treason cases and the Caprivi political dispute, as much as a dying person needs life;
16. UNDERSTANDING THAT the UDP leadership recognizes Namibia (former South West Africa) as a sovereign State, and that it is willing and ready to enter into political dialogue with the Namibian political leadership;
17. IMPRESSED THAT Namibia ratified or acceded to the International covenant on civil and political rights (ICCPR) on 28 February 1995, and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on 30 July 1992;
18. HAVING SHARED OUR CONCERNS WITH many individuals, organizations and traditional leaders in Caprivi Strip;
WITH A CLEAR CONSCIOUSNESS, with all strengths and weaknesses, for life and death, before heaven and earth, we hereby demand:

​a) Political dialogue between Government of Namibia and the leadership of the United Democratic Party (UDP), and unconditional release of all Caprivi political prisoners;

b) a REFERENDUM for Caprivians to democratically decide whether they wish to be independent or continue with Namibia as Namibians.
We thank you.
1. Lennox Lutambo​​————————–
2. Retief Kangongo​​————————–
3. Edwin M Samati​​————————–
4. Aldrin Mahulilo​​————————–
5. Event Linyando​​————————–
6. Harris Mpangala​————————–

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

 

POLICE COMMISSIONER THERON BLOCKS USE OF GOVERNMENT FACILITY

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POLICE COMMISSIONER THERON BLOCKS USE OF GOVERNMENT FACILITY

After having given written approval of public gathering to Caprivi Concerned Group (CCG) a week earlier, the new Regional Police Commander in Caprivi Strip, Mr. Karel Theron told CCG leaders on the morning of the meeting, Sunday 11 June 2017, that he will not allow CCG to use the municipal hall or any government property for the meeting.

CCG leaders were surprised to find two armed police officers at the venue’s gate who demanded receipt from Town Council as proof that the venue is paid for, before the activists could be allowed in. Comedy began when the proof was produced. The constables called their senior, a Warrant Officer, and informed him that they saw the reciept, but the senior officer told them that he would want to come and see it also. He came, he saw it and called his senior as well informing him that he had seen the proof too. His senior also demanded to see the reciept, so the Warrant Officer drove to his senior’s house to go and show him the proof.

The later senior is probably the Station Commander of Katima Mulilo police station. He took a photo of the receipt and sent it to his senior as well, the Regional Commander via WhatsApp. However, the Regional Commander also demanded to physically see the reciept, and it was taken to his home just to see it. Then the Regional Commander later came at the venue and said CCG should make arrangements for refund from Katima Mulilo Town Council because he will not allow the meeting to be held in the said venue or any government property.

It must be noted that CCG held two meetings with the said Regional Commander a week before the scheduled date for public meeting where the purpose of the meeting and procedures or issues of approval were discussed with him. He is the one who handed the approval and conditions for the meeting from the Inspector General, Sabastian Ndeitunga, to CCG leaders in the Regional Police Boardroom. Even the covering letter to which a copy of conditions was attached was signed by Theron himself, and the conditions were signed by Sabastian Ndeitunga, dated 2nd of June 2017.

There are more than five conditions given, and they included inter alia that organizers or participants should not come to the meeting with any kind of weapon, which includes knives, sticks, etc. CCG accepted the conditions, and was sure to comply. Surprisingly, the same police came to the public meeting venue on the day of the day to verbally prevent what they approved in writing in the first place. CCG suspects that the police approved the meeting and demanded organizers or participants (through conditions) to be defenceless, that is, not to come with any weapon, to come and physically harm or kill the defenseless organizers and attendants had they insisted to enter the said venue. Why did they approve the meeting in the first place which they knew they would prevent later? Why did they order us not to come with any weapon when they knew they would stand at the gate with riffles to prevent us from entering a premises we paid for to use?

It must be noted that Commissioner Theron was a senior Police Officer Caprivi Strip in 1999 and he is, like one of his deputies Mr. Evans Simasiku, most probably one of those who harassed and tortured our parents and brothers in 1999. It is also likely that he also knows the mass grave where seven Caprivian men were buried somewhere around Katima Mulilo. It is strange that the were recently appointed to higher ranks from other areas to Caprivi Strip as Regional Commander and Deputy Regional Commander respectively.

Nonetheless, CCG decided to conduct the planned public meeting outside the municipal hall despite having paid to use the hall and having spend money to hire a Public Address system and digital overhead projector. Around two hundred people accepted to sit in the sun, on the ground and be addressed by CCG. They sang freedom songs and shouted slogans as an indication that they are determined to liberate Caprivi Strip from Namibia’s illegal occupation. Commissioner Theron, the Station Commander, and other senior and armed junior police officers observed the event to the end. CCG served them with refreshments at the end of the event but they all refused.image

CCG impressed on the attendants to speak for themselves and stand up for their rights, as the theme for the meeting was “you are your own liberators”. CCG informed the public that there will be a mass demonstration on the 25th of August 2017 to demand a referendum and unconditional release of all Caprivi political prisoners, so they should organise themselves, mobilize many people and come in large numbers to the demonstration on that day.

CCG welcomes the latest development where by Morocco have indicated that it intends to investigate Namibia’s illegal occupation of Caprivi Strip and human rights violations in the strip. Morocco is assured of absolute support from all Caprivians and CCG in particular. Caprivians have the right to self determination, and Namibia is denying them such right by killing, torturing, imprisoning them and denying them basic freedoms such as freedom to assemble peaceably, freedom of speech and expression.

For more information on the message delivered, download the attached keynote speech.

Reported by Edwin M Samati

Key Notes(1)

WHERE IS RETIEF KANGONGO? IS HE DEAD OR ALIVE?

Caprivi Concerned Group

 

CAPRIVI STRIP

Katima Mulilo

www.capriviconcernedgroup.com

concernedcaprivians@gmail.com

————————————————————————————————————————–

PRESS RELEASE 25 March 2017

WHERE IS RETIEF KANGONGO? IS HE DEAD OR ALIVE?

Caprivi Concerned Group (CCG) have since last year, April 2016, been unaware of the where abouts of it’s Deputy Chairperson, Retief Kangongo, save for Namibian Police’s report in May 2016 suggesting that he fled to Botswana and was he kept in Francistown Center for Illegal Immigrants.

However, CCG received two different and disturbing information regarding him on Thursday, 23 March 2017. One recieved via text message from a certain Victor Muluti of a Namibian cellphone number +264814559383, stating that Kangongo died in a car accident in South Africa, and another from two reliable sources within Namibian Police force saying he was deported from Botswana back to Caprivi Strip.

CCG independently confirmed the same day, on Thursday, through its own ‘satellites’ that Kangongo was taken out of the Center of Illegal Immigrants by Botswana Police on Tuesday, 21 March 2017, and did not return to the center since then. It is believed, from some information obtained within the Namibian Police force, that he was handed over to the Namibian Police the same day.

CCG made consultations with his family yesterday on Friday, in the Caprivi Strip, to accertain itself if the Namibian Police handed him over to the family, or if the family is aware of his whereabouts but the family unequivocally denied knowledge of his deportation or whereabouts, and they too fear that the Namibian POLICE may have harmed or killed him. All indications show that he is under the custody of, or he is to be fully accounted for by, the Namibian Police, whether he is dead or alive.

It is however not clear as to whether he came back home through proper repatriation process or proper deportation, that is whether due process was followed. In any case, be it deportation or repatriation, as far as we know there is no reason to keep him in prison or harm him in any way as members of the Police Force at Katima Mulilo Police Station confirmed that there is so far no criminal case opened against him.

If the information alluding that he died in a car accident is taken as a clue, or anything closer to the truth, it would be conclusive that the Namibian Police have killed him and they are looking for a cover up story. The nation knows very well that Government of Namibia wanted him to be deported, of which his deportation would be celebrated by Sabastian Ndeitunga and his force, and he would be negatively paraded publicly through state media, therefore, the deafening silence from the Namibian Police since his deportation is scary and worrisome.

Retief Kangongo is the Deputy Chairperson of CCG, a peaceful civil rights movement in Caprivi Strip, and he disappeared on Friday, 29 April 2016, following threats against CCG leaders by the Namibian Police Chief, Sabastian Ndeitunga published in a daily newspaper the same day. Even after Kangongo’s disappearance, Ndeitunga continued to threaten leaders of CCG, calling them “bandits” and was reported calling on his counterparts in Zambia and Botswana to arrest CCG members if found in their countries and “bring them” to him “as Christmas boxes” to deal with them. image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On September 02 2016, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights requested the Namibian President, Dr. Hage G Geingob, to “intervene” and “ensure” that the Government of Namibia “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 Caprivi Strip.

Though it remains unknown whether Botswana denied him asylum and what other options were offered to him in that case, there are clear and convincing grounds that he fled to Botswana in fear of persecution and he was presumably a de facto refugee. The Refugee Convention, adopted in 1951, is an international instrument which placed legal restrictions on State parties’ power to expel foreigners. Article 33 lays down the prohibition of refoulement according to which no State party “shall expel or return (“refouler”) a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.”

We suspect that Kangongo’s deportation or repatriation did not involve UNHCR, or follow due process, and we seriously fear that the Namibian Police may have harmed or killed him. We therefore demand his immediate release from Police Custody, or explanations of his whereabouts or circumstances thereof, to his family from the Namibian Police and Immigration Officials.

We further request other human rights and faith based organisations such as NamRights, Council of Churches in Namibia, Redcross Society of Namibia, and Amnesty International to demand same or independently investigate this case.

Thank you.

Edwin M. Samati

Secretary General

Caprivi Concerned Group

Cellphone number: +264 81 496 0827

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Caprivi Political Prisoner Pleads For Release

Caprivi Concerned Group

 

Caprivi Political Prisoner Pleads For Release

A former Member of Parliament, Hon. Geoffrey Mwilima (62) pleaded for release from prison on medical grounds before a team commissioned by the Judiciary Commission of Namibia to inspect Windhoek Correctional facility or Prison.

According to him, in a report broadcasted on the 20th of March 2017 on Namibia’s NBC-1 television channel, he suffers from diabetes, hypertension, epilepsy and renal failure, and he has undergone six medical operations. He has been in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) several times particularly due to kidney failure. Currently he goes for kidney dialysis twice a week, and he is supposed to go for kidney transplant, which cannot be done in prison. He says he spends a lot of money on medications and his prescribed diet, without help from Prison Authorities or Government.

Considering his deteriorating health and age, he seeks the invocation of Article 109(a) and or (b) of the Correctional Service Act, 2012, which provides that the Minister responsible for Correctional service “may, on recommendation of a medical officer and after consultation with the Commissioner-General, authorise release from correctional facility of an offender serving any sentence in a correctional facility, and (a) who is suffering from a dangerous, infectious or contagious disease; or (b) whose continued incarceration is dentrimental to his or her health on the grounds of his or her physical condition”.

Hon. Mwilima explained his health, medical, nutritional and psychological needs and challenges to the commission which included the Deputy Minister of Safety and Security (responsible for Correctional service); and was led by, Supreme Court Judge Sylvester Mainga. He also indicated to the team that he has sent communications attaching medical report or recommendations to relevant authorities through his lawyers in trying to secure compassionate release for the sake of his health but all in vain as there have never been a response since last year. image

Article 18 of the Namibian Constitution provides for Administrative Justice, and states that administrative bodies and administrative officials shall act fairly and reasonably and comply with the requirements imposed upon such bodies and officials by common law and any relevant legislation. The same article further provides that persons aggrieved in this regard, where an administrative body or official fails to “act fairly and reasonably” and or fail to “comply” with relevant legislation, shall have the right to seek redress before a competent Court.

Hon. Mwilima was severely tortured upon his arrest in August 1999 that he suffered a broken jaw and deep cuts on his back resulting from the BEATING or whipping by Security Officials or Agents, [See attached photo]. He remained in prison for 16 years before he was convicted and sentenced to 18 years jail term in December 2015 for high treason and related charges, which he is currently serving.

Article 8 of same Constitution provides for Respect for Human Dignity. It states that the dignity of all persons shall be inviolable, and further state that in any judicial proceedings or in other proceedings before any organ of the State, and during the enforcement of a penalty, respect for human dignity shall be guaranteed. No persons shall be subject to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

While Hon. Mwilima may not support aims, objectives and activities of Caprivi Concerned Group (CCG), without any reservation, CCG fully supports his plea for release on medical grounds. It is a natural and genuine request, CCG therefore prays for understanding on the part of the responsible Minister and Commissioner-General, Hon. Charles Namoloh and Tuhafeni Hamunyela respectively.

Edwin Samati

Caprivi Concerned Group

www.capriviconcernedgroup.com

 

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

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

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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

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commissions-letter-to-geingob

CCG Public Meeting Successfully Conducted

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CCG Public Meeting Successfully Conducted

By Event M Linyando*

Caprivi  Concerned Group (CCG) successfully conducted a public seminar on historical facts about Caprivi, human rights and unity, on Sunday 03 July 2016 in Katima Mulilo. The event was well attended that chairs in the conference room were not enough and some people had to get all chairs from the adjacent restaurant. It was also graced by the attendance of a mixture senior citizens and women.

In his keynote presentation, the Secretary General of CCG, Mr. Edwin Samati explained how and why the German-Portuguese declaration of 1886 and the Anglo-German treaty of 1890 did not incorporate Caprivi Strip to German South West Africa (GSWA), and how the Namibian Constitution or laws fall short of jurisdiction in Caprivi Strip.

According to Samati, if the 1886 declaration meant Caprivi Strip was part of GSWA, it wouldn’t be necessary for the same GSWA to seek authority from Britain to use or access the same territory (strip) four years later in 1890. He further explained that the 1890 treaty was not intended to incorporate or cede the Strip to SWA as implied by the Governor, but to have access to Zambezi River or have the strip as a sphere of influence and corridor to travel to Tanganyika, not a colony.

In an effort to demonstrate that Namibia had and has no jurisdiction over the Caprivi Strip, Samati relied on the Britain’s Order in Council of 1891 which had jurisdiction in Caprivi Strip; the Court Decision of 1908 which stated that German had no jurisdiction in Caprivi Strip; and Proclamation 147 of 1939 which states that laws of SWA would not apply is Caprivi Strip unless declared so to apply, especially because the later is not yet repealed or is still in force today.

Refering to the Kasikili/Sedudu decision by the International Court of Justice of 1999 where the 1890 treaty failed to save Namibia; and the claim by Mr. T Tsheko in the Bechuanaland Protectorate Legislative Council that the strip belongs to Bechuanalnad who was supported by then future President of Botswana Dr. Quett Masire relying on historical and cultural facts, Samati argued that Botswana stands a better chance to claim sovereignty over the strip than Namibia.

However, he emphasized that CCG is not a secessionist movement or a political party, but a civil rights movement which aims to see a lasting peaceful solution over the Caprivi political dispute found through political dialogue between Government and the UDP leadership or a referendum, and the unconditional release of all Caprivi political prisoners.

The public meeting and arguments in the keynote presentation was in response to claims made by Government of Namibia in a Joint Press Statement issued by the Caprivi Regional Governor published on 27 June 2016 in New Era Newspaper, that the 1886 declaration and the 1890 treaty are the key legal instruments which demonstrate that Caprivi Strip is part of Namibia (formerly SWA). In this statement, Government also claimed that CCG is involved in secessionist activities and its leaders should therefore be dealt with. The Governor, Hon. Lawrence Sampofu also called on the public to “report secessionist activities” of this group so that “the law can take its course.”

The Secretary General of CCG used the event to comment on tribalism and stated that Caprivi Concerned Group as a civil rights organization does not see tribes in individuals and can never promote or condone tribalism. “A human rights activist can never be a tribalist because he sees all human beings as equal beings no matter what tribe or race they belong to” he said.

He called for unity among Caprivians, and accused SWAPO of causing and promoting tribalism not only because well-known tribalists are SWAPO members but also because the party or its government is failing to take action against its tribalistic members. “We believe that SWAPO has something to benefit from tribal divisions among Caprivians… As one cannot expect a vector to cure malaria, SWAPO as the causer can never solve the issue of tribalism. Only Caprivians themselves can resolve the issue of tribalism because they understand each other much better in the absence of a third person” he stressed.

He called on Caprivians to be actively involved in denouncing issues which directly or indirectly affect them such as tribalism, oppression and continued incarceration of Caprivians. “We have suffered a lot under this government, our family members are in refugee camps, prison or mass graves but we seem to be fine about it! God helps those who help themselves, we are the voices of those people and we are free to speak for them – it is our right”.

Given an opportunity to comment or ask questions, some members expressed appreciation of the presentation and the efforts of CCG in general. “I am very happy to see this number of people attending, and I feel what was presented here today have armed us. I call upon fellow Caprivians present here to be strong and share what they learnt here with us others who remained at home”, one attendant said.

One of those who couldn’t hide his happiness is a former Caprivi political prisoner, Mr. Joseph Kamwi who motivated those present by telling them how he was tortured, transported from Katima Mulilo to Grootfontein naked, and spending 16 years in prison “but you can see me, here I am, I am still alive…” He also informed the audience that Government of Namibia have given him and others notices of appeal, “we are still hunted and whenever you will hear that I am arrested, disappeared or killed it is because of the Caprivi issue. I still believe that Caprivi is not part of Namibia because we have evidence of that”, he said.

A number of those who spoke suggested that there should be a big public meeting in a sports field, and that CCG should consider changing the name to “Caprivi Human Rights Group”. CCG leadership promised to look into the suggestions.

*Event Mubita Linyando is the Secretary for Information and Publicity in Caprivi Concerned Group. He is a former member the Namibian Defence Force where he held a position of a Corporal in the Assault Engineering Department until he resigned from the force in 2005.