The Sacred Petition Of Concerned Caprivians

TO:    

  1. THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA
  2. THE UN RESIDENT COORDINATOR IN NAMIBIA
  3. FORMER ADMINISTRATORS OF CAPRIVI STRIP
    1. Barotse Royal Establishment
    2. British Government
    3. Federal Government of German
    4. Government of the Republic of South Africa
  4. AU COMMISSIONER FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS (South Africa)
  5. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY OF SADC (Botswana)
  6. ALL INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS IN NAMIBIA
  7. ALL LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANISATIONS
  8. ALL CAPRIVIAN REFUGEE HOST COUNTRIES

 

FROM: CAPRIVI CONCERNED GROUP

DATE: 04 February 2013

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 after a wide grass root consultation;

2.      NOTING 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), the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (1986), SADC Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation [Article 11( b)], and the Namibian constitution (Chapter 3);

 

  1. 3.      CONCURRING with Amnesty International (AI) human rights report on Namibia (August 2003) which stated that seventy-five (75) percent of Caprivi High Treason suspects are political prisoners;

 

  1. 4.      UNDERSTANDINGthat human rights, the rule of law and democracy are interlinked and mutually reinforcing and that they belong to the universal and indivisible core values and principles of the United Nations and of any democratic country;

 5.      BELIEVING that Caprivi High Treason trial should be a political trial and that it has exceeded a reasonable trial length which hence require a round table negotiation and unconditional release of all Caprivi high treason prisoners;

 6.      ACKNOWLEDGING and appreciating Namibia’s leading human rights organization, the former National Society for Human Rights (now Namrights) call for a political solution to the Caprivi conflict (February 21, 2005) where it stated that it believes “that a negotiated settlement is not only cost-effective, but also stands the best chance of bringing about restorative justice and hence, a durable resolution of the Caprivi dispute.”

 7.      CONSIDERING the assertive conclusion of the November 28, 2011 submission by the Caprivian community in Botswana to the Government of Botswana, Namibia, and UNHCR- Botswana that “In the interest of peace, Caprivian people shall continue to seek and appeal for an amicable approach to their political issue. The road to freedom is not easy but we are determined and courageous to face any challenges.”

 8.      AWARE that during the Second Berlin Conference Caprivi Strip became a Germany possession after the British exchanged it for the islands of Heligoland and Zanzibar through the Heligoland-Zanzibar Treaty (1890). Germany was stripped of its colonial possessions (including Caprivi Strip) as stated in the Treaty of Versailles (1919).  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.

9.      HAVING RECENTLY learnt that proclamation No. 147 of 1939 (South Africa) which transferred the administration of Caprivi Strip to the department of Native Affairs has never been repealed by the Namibian parliament.

 10.  KNOWING THAT in 1963 a petition was sent to the United Nations, signed by two Caprivian chiefs, Chief Simataa Mamili and Maiba Liswani, to seek the independence of Caprivi Strip.

 11.  ACKNOWLEDGING the fact that in October 1964, then Zambian Prime Minister Kenneth Kaunda and His Royal Highness Litunga (i.e. King) of Barotseland, Sir Mwanawina Lewanika, signed an agreement incorporating the autonomous Barotseland Kingdom into Zambia without the Caprivi Strip;

 12.  AWARE that in the same year (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;

 13.  AWARE THAT Section 38(5) of the South-West Africa Constitution Act, 1968 (Act No.39 of 1968) provided that no Act of the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa and no Ordinance of the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of South-West Africa passed on or after the first day of November 1951 would apply in that part of the said Territory that was demarcated and known as the Eastern Caprivi Zipfel, unless it was expressly declared so to apply. And that in 1972, Caprivi had its own Legislative Council, national anthem, emblem and flag;

 14.   KNOWING that certain laws specific to South West Africa and subsequently Namibia were not applicable to Caprivi Strip as per Act No. 39 of 1968 until the 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;

 15.  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;

 16.   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’

 17.  REMINDED of the history of arbitrary detentions of Caprivian 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.

18.  AWARE that Mishake Muyongo was detained several times by Zambian Authorities instructed by SWAPO from 1965 to 1985 for  listening to the complaints, wishes and political aspirations of his fellow Caprivians and was on many occasions released through negotiations between SWAPO, CANU leadership and Zambian government.

19.  TAKING INTO ACOUNT the confession of Namrights Director, Phil ya Nangoloh on the 13th of September 2010 that “Since charity begins at home, I have several confessions to make. 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.”

 20.  SURPRISED to learn through media reports that this political dispute is falsely used by some Namibians, not Caprivians, to seek asylum in Canada and other western countries for economic reasons to an extent that some even claim to be (or have been) members of the Caprivi Liberation Army (CLA);

 21.   APPREACIATING the closure of the state’s case in the main Caprivi high treason trial despite the unreasonable length of more than eight years, and though legal experts still anticipate that it is far from over and the former Army General Martin Shali in the past two weeks said that it will take another 13 years to find the high treason suspects guilty.

 22.   DEEPLY concerned about the negative psychological, socio-economic effects of the current political status quo in Namibia, particularly on the concerned Caprivian population whose families are separated by exile, high treason (political) detention and mysterious deaths, all because of the Caprivi political dispute;

23.   BELIEVING THAT justice delayed is justice denied; that a trial shall take place within a reasonable time, failing which the accused shall be released; and that the dignity of all persons shall be inviolable. That in any judicial proceedings respect for human dignity shall be guaranteed and that no persons shall be subject to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;

 24.   NOTING poor infrastructural development in Caprivi, the unresolved Okavango-Caprivi border dispute, high prevalence levels of poverty related diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. Considering social indicators of poverty and inequality such as tribalism, while Namibia is classified as middle – income country and Caprivi being a potential food basket for the rest of Namibia and SADC.

 25.   AWARE and CONVINCED that Caprivi high treason cases and the political dispute can be peacefully settled politically through dialogue and referendum if the Namibian political leadership really want to settle the dispute permanently;

 26.   DETERMINED to defend all inherent human rights so that all human beings remain equal and free in dignity and in rights despite the kind of political belief they hold, so that Caprivians can also pursue the fullest measure of their political thoughts and beliefs without fear, so that everyone is able to ask political questions, and to be provided with convincing political answers without fear, favor or prejudice;

 27.   HAVING been twice denied the right to assemble peacefully to formally petition relevant authorities on the Caprivi political dispute by the Chief of NAMPOL, in April and December 2012;

 28.   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;

 29.   ACKNOWLEDGING the Namibian Prime Minister’s response to our demands in May 2012 who said that Mishake Muyongo should first denounce secession before Government of Namibia can enter into dialogue with him, and that the president cannot interfere with an ongoing trial, though such response lacked clarity of what subject Government of Namibia would hold dialogue with Mr. Muyongo if not about the Caprivi political dispute;

 30.   UNDERSTANDING THAT the UDP leadership recognizes Namibia (former South West Africa) as a sovereign State, that it is ready for negotiations, and that it defines the case of Caprivi political dispute as a matter of forced occupation of Caprivi Strip by the Namibian government;

 31.  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;

 32.   HAVING SHARED OUR CONCERNS WITH all traditional authorities in Caprivi, the Caprivi Pastors’ Forum, leaderships of various political parties in Caprivi, including the SWAPO regional executive committee of Caprivi, revived Caprivi African National Union (CANU), Caprivi regional youth forum and several other independent organizations and individuals of significance;  

 33.  WITH A CLEAR CONSCIOUSNESS, with all strengths and weaknesses, for life and death, before heaven and earth, we hereby demand:

 a)      The President (through his Government) of the Republic of Namibia to unconditionally release all Caprivi political prisoners, and

 b)      To find a political solution on all Caprivi high treason cases and the Caprivi political dispute through dialogue with the leadership of the United Democratic Party, and through a referendum.

 c)      Former administrators of Caprivi Strip, the United Nations, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Executive Secretary of SADC, the international diplomatic community in Namibia, religious and human rights organizations to publicly persuade the Government of Namibia to enter into political dialogue with UDP leadership over the Caprivi high treason cases and the Caprivi political dispute.

We thank you.