A LETTER TO PRESIDENT HAGE GEINGOB
01 October 2015
“Human rights are not divisible, fundamental freedoms are not divisible, democracy is not divisible, self-determination is not divisible”. These are your words at the UN General Assembly, on 29 September 2015, President Geingob.
Caprivi Concerned Group (CCG) is a peaceful organisation persuading GRN and the leadership of United Democratic Party (UDP) to peacefully and jointly find a lasting political solution over the Caprivi political dispute. This dispute is an argument on whether or not a) Caprivi is legally part of Namibia and b) the majority of Caprivians want total independence from Namibia.
The dispute began in 1964 when Mishake Muyongo of CANU signed a merger agreement with Sam Nuyoma of SWAPO. Some CANU leaders and supporters accused Muyongo of selling Caprivi Strip to Namibia by agreeing to merge CANU with SWAPO. This was followed by a “hunger strike” by Caprivians in 1965 at Kongwa, in protest of the merger. SWAPO executive met with CANU leaders in September 1965 to discuss “problems of Caprivians”, where Greenwell Matongo defiantly said “we remain CANU not SWAPO”!
As head of United Nations Institute for Namibia, asked about Caprivi independence around 1980, you said “if people want to change borders… it can be considered after independence..” Now it’s 25 years after Namibia got independence, and you are the President. Do you now have a different opinion?
In 1982, CANU leadership in exile appealed to then President of Botswana, Sir Quette Masire, for his intervention before Namibia’s independence, warning that if the plight of Caprivians would not be addressed, Caprivians would be forced into an “unholy alliance with Namibia”, and that there would be serious repercussions. Today we have Caprivians in exile, dozens in prison and some in mass graves as consequences of this dispute.
Zambezi Regional Council petitioned Central Government to “take action” against CCG at least twice this year. One was registered through SWAPO Secretary General, and another through you as Head of State. The best “action” is one which settles the dispute peacefully and durably, not one which silence CCG and other voices.
UDP is willing to have dialogue with the Namibian government over the Caprivi dispute; Prime Minister Angula rejected a referendum on the matter and indicated that dialogue with UDP would be possible if UDP denounce secession; and a month ago, you rejected dialogue and indicated that a referendum would be possible.
Surely, this dispute can be effectively settled through dialogue between Government of Namibia and the leadership of the UDP first, and a subsquent UN supervised referendum. GRN and UDP need to listen to each other, the truth be told, and people be accorded the right to decide.
Credit to you for successfully engaging in dialogue with Affirmative Reppositioning leaders, proving that diplomacy can put out any fire. We appeal to you, President Geingob and your Government, to consider entering into dialogue with UDP leadership to resolve the Caprivi dispute once and for all, or atleast, issue a clear (GRN) position statement on this dispute and request.
The earlier the better.
Mr. Edwin M Samati
Caprivi Concerned Group