- Fights Botswana in court
- Six refugees not cleared to return to Namibia
- 1 treason suspect could be pardoned
- 603 male and 106 females still in Dukwi
The Namibian government has refused to clear six of the remaining 709 refugees in Dukwi to enable their return to Namibia as they are still wanted for their role in the botched ‘Caprivi Strip’ secession plot, The Patriot has learnt.
The separatist group of Namibian refugees in Dukwi says they will continue to push for the secession of the Zambezi strip, if they return to Namibia.
This information is stated in an affidavit filed last week by 709 refugees in the Lobatse High Court in Botswana.
The uncleared refugees, are Felix Kakula, Francis Mushandikwe, Richard Musupali, Siseho Muchana, Masias Lutambo and Smith Mikini.
The group, under the leadership of Kakula, refused to abide by the 11 July deadline and instead approached the courts which granted them an interdict that prevents the government of Botswana from taking any action against the refugees until the court case is concluded.
In the letter, seen by The Patriot, the six did not meet the clearance procedure as per the Tripartite Commission agreement.
Signed by Namibia’s acting High Commissioner at the time Nomsa Uushona, the letter also states that Francis Mushandikwe’s request for pardon is still under consideration of President Hage Geingob.
Botswana stands firm
Botswana however maintains that “we do not have the Caprivian refugees but rather we have individuals who were refugees from Namibia until their refugee status ceased in December 2015”.
In an affidavit filed last week, Botswana’s defence minister Shaw Kgathi reiterated his 2016 stance during a meeting with Namibia’s former Home Affairs and Immigration Minister Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana when he indicated his concerns on the issues of security clearances and assurances for the safe and dignified return of the Namibian refugee contingent.
It also maintains that there is nothing arbitrary about the ongoing repatriation arrangements, adding that it is a mutually determined exercise as per the tripartite agreement between Namibia, Botswana and UNHCR.
Botswana also denied claims that there are 18 uncleared refugees, adding that the clearance mandate lies with the Namibian government.
It also indicated that according to the latest list of refugees, only six have not been cleared and they were advised to individually apply for clearance. “It is misleading for the Applicant to state that the reasons for their fleeing still exists, because there are many refugees who have voluntarily repatriated back to Namibia and not persecuted, prosecuted or arrested,” reads the affidavit.
UNHCR has in the past urged Botswana to repatriate Namibian refugees back to Namibia because there is stability.
The Patriot can confirm, according to a trail of emails seen, that a day before last week’s deadline 69 households which comprises of at least 276 individuals averaging four persons per household have turned down the resettlement offer.
The combative streak speaks to profound resolve practised by the refugees and the tripartite commission’s failure to allow the matter to drag to a point that transcend the heat of the moment. The more provocative of these refugees call for self-determination and guaranteed freedom upon their return to Namibia to assert and execute UDP’s plot to divorce Zambezi from Namibia.
They routinely denounce the tripartite commission saying it cannot solve political matters because it is biased and frivolous.
The refugees feel that the tripartite commission has no solution to their political situation because “it only serves the purpose and objectives of the tripartite commission”.
Martin Dingake, the attorney who is representing the 709 Namibian Dukwi refugees, told this publication that the government of Botswana had raised technical arguments as to why the refugees should be considered as illegal immigrants and that they should be deported during a court hearing held on Friday 13 July.
“These arguments are related to legal technicalities of special power of attorney authorizing us to go to court by being defective. They have also asked the court to issue specific performances by way of interdict which final without giving the Attorney General 30 days as required by the law. The government also noted that the people who gave supporting affidavits such as Alice Mogwe of Ditshwanelo and Phil Ya Nangoloh have no locus standi (the right or capacity to bring an action or to appear in a court)” he said.
Dingake further noted that 709 refugees have an interim interdict that they will not be repatriated until the matter is finalised.
For those who opt to return home, refugees are entitled to a range of benefits provided by the Namibian government and the UNHCR to make it easier for them to integrate in their new environment.
The benefits include monitory allowance which will facilitate them to start life at their final destinations, luggage allowance of 120 kilograms which will be exempted from tax for commercial goods. Both governments will not to be able to assist with vehicles but will instead facilitate the paper work with border control procedures.
Benefits in cash include adults and children who are between the ages of twelve to seventeen years receiving US$300 whilst children under the age of 12 will receive US$100. Reintegration package in form of building materials will also be provided by the Namibian government.
Provision for free education and medication are also among the benefits that will be offered by the Namibian government.
The formation of a Caprivian government would automatically have ended the central government’s control over the region.
In a political system where security officials hew to tightly scripted public positions; these uniformed pundits, both serving and retired, remain resolute that those that fled from the law after the secession attempt will still be brought to book once they return.
Over the years, Zambezi has emerged from decades of isolation to become a powerful logistic gateway to north-eastern Africa. That means government planners are increasingly concerned with security in the region that carry goods and products transported from the Walvis Bay port to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Zimbabwe and Democratic Republic of Congo.
Namibia’s trade power with landlocked countries could be severely impacted if a secession plot is ever carried out.
For anxious neighbours, the tough talk backed up with firepower delivered over the years, is sending an unnerving signal that the Namibia’s security cluster may be ready to use force to any group that threatens peace and stability in the region.
While it is too early to say if Namibia will encourage or tolerate the demands of the refugees calling for all refugees to be cleared, political analysts cautioned that the President Hage Geingob’s consideration whether to pardon one of the wanted individuals or not could be a gamechanger.