CONDITIONS FOR THE CAPRIVIAN’S RETURN
Namibia is requested to meet security assurance for the return of Caprivians from Botswana
First and foremost we the Caprivians in Botswana would like to put the records straight to Botswana, Namibia and UNHCR (Tripartite Committee).
We put it on record that, for seventeen years we spent in Botswana we had always rejected the plans of Go and See come and Tell Mission. This time we allowed ourselves to participate in it, in order to openly prove a point why we always contested that Caprivi’s political environment is not safe for our return without a political solution.
In this mission we shall prove that Caprivians people are governed by the barrel of the gun. Live in fear, and they cannot express their feelings, their rights. In fact their conscious are in prison The government has instilled fear and use tactics of divide and rule upon them.
Does our current position allow to be returned to Namibia?
1. We fled from Caprivi in 1998 and 1999 ,many people left before the 2ndAugust attack of 1999 while few people left after the attack.
2. The attack was simply aimed to remove the illegal occupation of the Namibian Government. Unfortunately after this attack the Namibian Government even cemented their illegal stay in Caprivi through forced annexation act of 1999 by extending their laws which were not applicable to this territory.
3. It is true that Namibia cannot ignore the fact that people who left Caprivi fleeing to Botswana was a result of crack down on all UDP members around 1998 and 1999.
4. Caprivians in exile in Botswana all belong to the United Democratic Party (UDP) who seeks independence from Namibia.
5. It is not new to Botswana Government because when we entered the Country through ungazeted points of entry, we were received by the Government and during interviews we indicated that we are UDP people from Caprivi Strip. And that we wanted freedom since Caprivi is occupied illegally by the Namibian Government.
6. Since our arrival in Botswana we perpetually asked the Government of Botswana to inform the Namibian Government to accept a dialogue with our leaders so that the political problem could be resolved. All our efforts were averted by the Namibian Government.
7. We fully believe that Caprivi must be free from the Namibian illegal occupation.
8. We harbor same sentiment with those who are in prisons because of Caprivi.
9. WE ARE UDP PEOPLE whose only aim is to liberate Caprivi from Namibia.
Are these not worthy questions that Caprivians should ask Namibia?
a) Why Swapo Government is failing to implement the agreement of the 5th November 1964
b) We would ask Namibia about the mass graves, one in Dairy cemetery and another in Angolan side of 15 Barakwenas from western Caprivi.
c) Why Namibia did not ask Caprivians to decide either they wanted to be part of Namibia or not in 1999.
d) Why Swapo Government took part of Caprivi (western Caprivi) to Kavango by force without consultation with the Caprivians?
e) Why the change of name from Caprivi to Zambezi is imposed on us, why Caprivians were not given chance to decide on the appropriate name.
The above are some among the questions that we are determined to ask Swapo Government.
Namibia should commit herself to the following conditions to ensure us Caprivians our safety when we come back
1. The Namibian Government should acknowledge the fact we the Caprivians in Botswana whom they have continually demanded to return back are UDP people. We left Caprivi as such and even now we are still the same, so they must be ready to accept us as they are.
2. The Namibian Government should unban our party (UDP) to ensure our dignity and safety return.
3. Must release all our fellow UDP members who were arrested in 1999 and 2000. They are in prison for 16 years now because of their political opinion.
4. The Government must commit herself in principle that all Caprivians in exile including Mr. Francis Mushandikwe whom they have denied return for many years and all Caprivians abroad must be allowed to return and no one will be subjected to harassment torture, imprisonment or prosecution.
5. Caprivians to be allowed to pursue their political aspirations in their own way to determine their own destiny.
6. For the Government to take note that, the time Botswana forces us back without a permanent solution to our problem, if it happens that we will still be alive, then the Namibian Government should not blame us to have caused instability because we shall demand our freedom immediately on our arrival.
7. Botswana Government is aware that they are pushing us without a solution to our problem; the Minister Mr. Shaw Kathi told us openly that we are no longer needed in Botswana. Though the UN Conventions of 1951 and protocol of 1967 article 33 clearly states non refoulment of refugees to frontiers where they could be persecuted because of their political opinion among others. For the above reason we seek international protection on the matter. UNHCR should negotiate with other Countries where they must take us not let us exposed to danger they are well aware off.
8. Namibia should accept democratic approaches to the Caprivi political problem, a referendum or dialogue is one of the ways possible that could end the problem forever. Why fearing that?
9. We request Botswana Government and UNHCR to seek other alternatives to end Refugee problems not to resort to pushing Refugees where their lives is in danger
10. If the Namibian Government does not want to commit herself to the above conditions, then your demand for our return should be viewed that you want to kill us because you are already aware that we are going to ask you the same questions asked above what will be the Government’s reaction on that?
11. We are not ready to submit to your eternal subjugation. We rather die seeking the permanent solution to our problem.
12. We hereby appealing to the international community to evacuate all Caprivians from the agreed plans of forced repatriation or deportation by Botswana and Namibian government.
In conclusion, it is our belief that the Namibian government shall not take short cuts and intimidation approach in resolving the Caprivi political Issue. It can be appreciated if the Namibian government could be bravely submit the issue for international attention instead of claiming it to be a domestic issue yet the whole aim is to suppress it hoping that it will die a natural death.
Dialogue and referendum still remains a brilliant options in dealing with political conflicts like the one for the Caprivian people. The denial of the Namibian government to opt for such recommended international standards could prove contrary to what they claim be.
We implore peace loving governments, international community and non government organisations to support us in peaceful approaches in order to find the lasting solution to our political problem.
Caprivians in exile – Botswana