JOINT PRESS STATEMENT BY THE HONOURABLE GOVERNOR OF CAPRIVI REGION, LAWRENCE SAMPOFU, AGAINST SECESSIONISM
10 June 2016
I welcome you all to this press conference. I particularly welcome the representatives of our Traditional Authorities from all the four Traditional Authorities in Zambezi region.
I also welcome our National Leaders, the Honorable Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Members of Parliament who travelled all the way from Windhoek to specifically attend this press conference.
Therefore, this is iindeed a unique and special press conference in that it is the first time in history of the region for our four Traditional Authorities together with the our elected Local, Regional and National Leaders to speak with our voice on issues that I am going to address in this Press Conference. In other words, the issues I am going to address have been agreed upon and endorsed by our Traditional leaders together with our elected representatives.
SECESSIONIST ACTIVITIES OF THE SO-CALLED CAPRIVI CONCERNED GROUP: It is common cause that the people of Namibia emerged from colonialism on 21 March 1990. This was preceded by the drafting and adoption of the Constitution of the Republic of Namibia by the Constituent Assembly, a body that was tasked to draft the Constitution of the Republic of Namibia.
It is also common cause that the Constituent Assembly was chaired by one of the distinguished sons of Namibia, His Excellency Dr. Hage Geingob, our current President of the Republic of Namibia.
Seven political parties were represented in the Constituent Assembly and their members unanimously adopted the Namibian Constitution, our supreme law of the land.
This is consistent with the internationally recognised principles of democracy, namely, that those who are democratically elected are given a specific mandate to speak on behalf of those who elected them. It goes without saying therefore, that an unelected Concerned Group can not purport to speak on behalf of a nation or region. For some time now, we have observed the secessionist activities of the so called Concerned Group whose mission is to support the secession of the Zambezi region from the rest of Namibia. During the Presidential and National Assembly Elections of 2014, the Group was pre-occupied with instigating the residents of the Zambezi region not to take part in the elections apparently because the Zambezi region is not part of Namibia.
Their activities were repeated during the Regional and Local Authoriies Elections. Fortunately, they dismally failed to incite the residents of the Zambezi Region in both occasions. Their unpatriotic, divisive and secessionist activities were roundly rejected by the residents of the Zambezi Region. It is common cause that residents of the Zambezi region, just like other Namibian citizens went to the poll and freely elected their representatives.
Allow me therefore, on behalf of my colleagues to take this opportunity to express our appreciation and gratitude to our Traditional Authorities who mobilised their subjects to ignore the activities of the Group and vote for representatives of their choice, which they did in large numbers.
We have recently observed the activities of this Group through social media hailing insults at some of our National Leaders, as well as our Regional Leaders in furtherance of their secessionist activities. This kind of behavior is condemned in strongest possible terms and it is rejected with the contempt it deserves. We call upon responsible authorities to apply the letter and spirit of the laws of our Republic to deal with this Group which is hell bent to distabilize peace and stability that we enjoy today. We call upon all law abiding citizens of our region to report secessionist activities of this Group so that the law can take its cause. We are also aware that this so-called Caprivi Concerned Group is nothing but a front of the United Democratic Party led by Mishake Muyongo, an architect of secession.
As already pointed out, the Namibian Constitution which defines the international boundaries of Namibia under article 1(4), was unanimously adopted by all seven political parties represented in the Constituent Assembly, a body that was tasked to draft the Namibian Constitution. Unlike in most other independent African countries where independence constitutions were drafted mainly by the departing colonial powers, the Namibian Constitution was authored by Namibians themselves. Namibians from the Zambezi region took part in the constitutional development of Namibia through their political parties.
Indeed, as the 1989 Constituent Assembly election results show, Namibians from the Zambezi region were involved in not less than five (5) of seven (7) political parties which wrote and adopted the Namibian Constitution. These political parties are: the SWAPO party of Namibia, the DTA of Namibia, the United Democratic front of Namibia(UDF), the National Patriotic Front of Namibia (NPF), and the Federal Convention of Namibia (FCN). Therefore, no one from this region can claim that he or she was excluded from the constitutional developments of Namibia.
We wish to point out that three (3) colonial powers were involved in the delimitation of the international boundaries of Namibia to which Zambezi region is an intergral part, namely, Germany, Great Britain, and Portugal.
There are two main legal instruments which define the international boundaries of Namibia. These are:
a) “Declaration between Portugal and Germany, respecting the Delimitation of the possessions of the two Countries, and their respective spheres of influence in South Africa”, signed in Lisbon on December 30, 1886; and
b) “Agreement between Great Britain and Germany, respecting Zanzibar, Helogoland and the Spheres of Influence of the two countries in Africa”, commonly known as the Anglo-German Agreement of 1st July 1890.
Article 1 of the Declaration between Portugal and Germany of 1886 defines the northern boundaries of Namibia as follows:
“The boundary-line between the Portuguese and German possessions in South West Africa shall follow the course of the River Kunene from its mouth to the cataracts which are formed by that river to the south of Humbe when crossing the range of the Canna Hills. From this point the line will run along that parallel as far as the River Kubango, (Kavango) and thence it will continue along the course of the same river as far as Andara which place is to remain within the sphere of German interests. From this place (i.e. Andara) the boundary-line will continue in a straight direction eastwards as far as Catina (i.e. Katima Mulilo rapids), on the Zambesi (Zambezi)”.
Following the demarcation of the northern boundary of Namibia during the 1940’s, the last beacon is still visible near the Katima Sesheke Bridge at Wenela area. It is clear from the provisions of the 1886 Declaration that the area known as German South West Africa INCLUDED the Zambezi region.
The Anglo-German Agreement of 1st July 1890 completed the description of the land mass of German South West Africa known today as Namibia.
Again, it must be noted that the name South West Africa, which include Zambezi region was specifically mentioned by name in the Anglo-German Agreement of 1st July 1890 referred to above.
The description of the boundary started at Orange River. The material clause is Article III(2) which, inter alia reads as follows:
In Southwest Africa the sphere in which the exercise of influence is reserved to German is bounded: To the east by the line commencing at the above-named point, and following the 20th degree of east longitude to the point of its intersection by the 22nd parallel of south latitude; it runs eastward along that parallel to the point of its intersection by the 21st degree of east longitude; thence it follows that degree northward to the point of its intersection by the 18th parallel of south latitude; it runs eastward along that parallel till it reaches the river Chobe; and descends the centre of the main channel of that river to its junction with the Zambesi, where it terminates. It is understood that under this arrangement Germany shall have free access from her Protectorate to the Zambesi by a strip of territory (the Caprivi Strip) which shall at no point be less than 20 English miles in width. (emphasis added).
It is crystal clear from the provisions of Article III(2) of the Anglo-German Agreement that the description of South West Africa INCLUDED Zambezi region.
German official maps, South African official maps and most importantly the United Nations maps ALL show that Zambezi region is an intergral part of Namibia.
In 1966, the United Nations by General Assembly Resolution 2145 (XX1), 27 October 1966 (Official Records of the General Assembly, Twenty-first Session, Supplement No. 16, document A/6316) terminated South Africa’s mandate over South West Africa.
In 1967, theUnited Nations denounced South African rule as illegal and assumed de jure government of Namibia through the newly established UN Council for Namibia. (General Assembly Resolution 2248S-V, 19 May 1967, Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifth Special Session, Supplement No. 1, document A6657). Although there was little the UN Council could do to as a practical matter to assert its authority over Namibia, it did engage in a fairly extensive mapmaking programme.
In 1977, the United Nations published Map No. 2947 of Namibia, pursuant to a Resolution of the UN General Assembly, requesting “the Secretary-General urgently to undertake, in consultation with the UN Council for Namibia, the preparation of a comprehensive United Nations map of Namibia reflecting therein the territorial intergrity of the territory of Namibia” (General Assembly Resolution A/31/150, 20 December 1976, Official Records of the General Assembly, Thrity-first session, Supplement No. 39, document A/31/39). This map, at a scale of 1:4,000,000, was the first map published by the United Nations. (Namibia 1:4,000,000 United Nations, October 1977 Map No. 2947). Another map of the same scale was published in 1984, (Namibia 1:4,000,000 United Nations,1984, UN Map No. 3228 Rev. 1).
Then in 1985, a large format map was published pursuant to Resolution 35/227H of the UN General Assembly of 6 March 1981 (Official Records of the General Assembly, Thrity-fifth Session, Supplement No. 48 document A/35/48). The UN announcement of its publication reveals how carefully the UN cartographers constructed this detailed map. For example, it stated that:
“Over 450 seperate topographic maps, bathymetric charts, road maps and thematic material were examined and used. The final product was combined with a mosaic of satellite imagery prepared by the Remote Sensing Centre of the Food and Agriculture Organisation”.
The territory of Namibia is shown by hypsometric tinting that clearly covers the Zambezi Region. The legend states that “this map represents an official United Nations map of Namibia and supersedes any other map of Namibia or South West Africa hitherto published by South Africa”. It was circulated in an edition of 1,000 copies and was given maximum publicity. The map is at a scale of 1:1,000,000 (Namibia 1:1,000,000 United nations 1985, UN Map No. 3158).
It need hardly be said that the 1886 Declaration between Portugal and Germany, and the Anglo-German treaty of 1890 were major episodes in “the Scramble for Africa” through which some colonial boundaries in Africa were delimited by European Powers in the nineteenth century. It is also common knowlegde that these colonial boundaries divided communities at a large scale. Thus the delimitation of the boundaries of Namibia by European powers was not unique to this part of Africa.
It is an established principle of international law, generally known as uti possidetis, that where a territory was under the control of such a colonial power, the territorial sovereign limits of the successor State is limited to the territory previously under the control of such colonial Power. Namibia, therefore, inherited the territory under the effective occupation and control of the colonial powers. i.e. German and thereafter South Africa.
The inherited colonial territory is today embodied in Article 1 (4) of the Namibian Constitution which Mr. Muyongo ably assisted to draft. Article 1 (4) states as follows:
“The national territory of Namibia shall consist of the whole territory recognised by the international community through the organs of the United nations as Namibia, including the enclave, harbor, and port of Walvis Bay, as well as the off-shore islands of Namibia, and its southern boundary shall extend to the middle of the Orange River”.
It is clear, therefore, that the territory recognised by the internattional community through the organs of the United Nations as Namibia includes Zambezi region as evidenced by the maps published by the United Nations.
The legal position regarding the status of Zambezi region is, therefore, very clear. The region is and has always been regarded by the Namibian people, colonial authorities, and the international community as an intergral part of Namibia. Mr Muyongo himself confirmed this position when he proposed on 4 December 1989 in the Constituent Assembly during the drafting of the Namibian Constitution that Namibia should become a unitary state.
Indeed, what Mr Mishake Muyongo proposed on 4 december 1989 during the drafting of the Namibian Constitution was accepted by the Constituent Assembly. This is what he proposed: ‘Mr Chairman, Namibia will be a unitary, sovereign and democratic state. What do we understand by a unitary state?
A UNITARY NAMIBIA IS A STATE THAT ABIDES BY THE PRINCIPLES OF TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY AND REJECTION OF SECESSION (NAMIBIA CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY DEBATES, 21 NOVEMBER – 31 JANUARY 1990).
Mr Muyongo’s constitutional proposals are today contained in Article 1 (1) of the namibian Constitution and reads as follows: “The republic of Namibia is hereby established as a sovereign, secular, democratic and unitary State founded upon the principles of democracy, rule of law and justice for all.”
This Article was preferably refered to as Muyongo clause. Today the same Muyongo is shooting at the very constitutional provision which makes Namibia a unitary State. A provision which he helped to draft.
We have also recently witnessed what appears to be a one person mebership to the so-called Movement for the Survival of the River Races in Zambesia.This individual is promoting scattered papers of explorers, including maps which were drawn before the international boudaries of Namibia. It is claimed that the so called people of Zambesia are seperate from Namibia and constitutes a seperate country.
This claim is simply dismissed with the contempt it deserves. In any event, we are aware that while patriotic Namibians were fighting to liberate Namibia, the same individual was a Zambian national who was fully employed and drawing a good salary. The same individual came back to Namibia before independence, and again drawing a good salary from the apartheid colonial regime. We therefore call upon patriotic Namibians from Zambezi region to shun this individual. Given his past record, he is simply not qualified to speak about freedom which he failed to fight for during the colonial period.
It is a fact that during the struggle for freedom and national independence, many Namibians who were born from other parts of Namibia died in this Region fighting for the independence of Namibia. Most prominent among them are Tobias Hainyeko who was killed at Namwi Island, plus minus 6 kilometers east of where we are and Hanganee Katjipuka. Equally a countless number of Namibians who were born from Zambezi Region died in other Regions of Namibia. This is because we believed that we were fighting for one country and one cause.
We believed that we were all Namibians. This is what Brendan Simbwaye, Greenwell Matongo, Benjamin Bebi, Richard Kapelwa Kabajani, David Chatambula Masida, Judea Lyaboloma Tubukwasa and Maxwell Kulibabika all fought for Namibia. We should never betray them. Victims of 1960s Massacres at singalamwe and Shatuhu which occured during the struggle to liberate Namibia died in the name of Namibia, we must NOT betray them.
Source: New Era Newspaper, Friday, 17 June 2016, p. 39