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