THE RESUME OF HISTORICAL EVENTS OF CAPRIVI
Ever since time immemorial Caprivi has been a country of contrasts, whose
history cuts across the pre-colonial phases. It also has a unique position on the
African Continent. Many people refer to Caprivi as a finger type country that has
no minerals, but it is known by its people as a small field very-fertile able to feed
a very big population.
It is positioned in such a manner that it boarders with Angola, Botswana,
Namibia and Zambia.
Some historians also mentioned that Caprivi has a boarder with Zimbabwe, they
may be correct but we think to be fair, only the Caprivi water meets with the
The population of Caprivi has always been referred to as very small for it to be considered as an independent state an argument which is absurd to say the least, because there are many countries with smaller populations and are even members of the United Nations (U.N).
Caprivi has many languages and one of the countries that has a very strong
tradition, tradition that has become a pillar on which the inhabitants have
managed to lean on in times of crisis.
It will not be wrong to say that the tradition and culture of the Caprivi makes it
unique among the African countries in the region.
Many people have always mentioned that economic activities in Caprivi will be
wanting should the people decide to be independent on their own an argument
to the Caprivians themselves, As said earlier Caprivi's economy and agricultural
activities if properly exploited can make Caprivi the Bread-Basket of Southern
1. GEOGRAPHICAL POSITION
The Caprivi lies about half way between the equator and the Southern tip of Africa and mid way between the Atlantic and Indian oceans. The Caprivi Zipfel commonly known as Caprivi Strip shares boarders with Angola in the North West/ Botswana in the South, Namibia in the West and Zambia in the north. Caprivi Zipfel and its neighbouring countries have natural boundaries such as the river Zambezi, Chobe, Linyanti and Okavango.
2. SIZE AND POPULATION
The size of Caprivi is about 20 009 km2 and its population is estimated to 15 0,000 people.
Its geographical position gives it a mild type of climate. It has a tropical type of climate that enjoys a high summer rainfall with less evaporation and a warmer winter providing for a home to many plants. The average annual rainfall of the Caprivi is ranging between 500 - 750 mm.
4- TRADITION AND CULTURE
There are several levels of traditional authorities. It starts with the village headman (Induna), the district headman (Silalo Induna) and the tribal council (Khuta). These are the custodians of tradition and culture in the Caprivi Zipfel. Traditionally and culturally Caprivians are linked to both Botswana and Zambia. The Caprivian tradition and culture has a strong influence on the daily lives of the people.
5. ECONOMIC PROSPECTS
The argument that should Caprivi attain independence it will not be able to support its population because of lack of economic potentiality does not hold water. Caprivi is one of the few African countries with many different species of wildlife still found in their natural habitats. Species such as the different antelopes, elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, hippopotamus, rhinos, crocodiles etc are to be found in the different woodlands and rivers of the Caprivi. The majority of these animals are found in the three National Parks namely, Mamili, Mudumu and the Western Caprivi. All these coupled with an abundance of bird life of different species and the country's natural beauty of tall subtropical forests, swamps and rivers which forms the country's natural boundaries will attract more tourists and thus promote tourism industry of the country. If Uganda's tourism industry is greatly benefiting from its mountain gorillas, Caprivi will even benefit more from its wider range of wild game, some of which are exclusively to Caprivi in the entire region.
The road network in both rural and urban is of poor and bad conditions. In some other areas of the Caprivi there are virtually no roads, where roads do exist they are difficult to drive on. If these roads and air services are properly developed they will play a vital role in the economy of the Caprivi, as they would connect the Caprivi to the entire region.
Owing to the high rainfall and fertile soils, the Caprivi has a high potential for crop production. Currently the only type of farming taking place in the Caprivi is predominantly rural and subsistence in nature, while modern technology has not been employed on a large scale. The potentiality on sectors such as stock farming, poultry, timber etc need to be seriously developed. Crops such as maize, millets, sorghum, groundnuts, beans etc are produced on a small scale. Animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, donkeys, horses etc are reared by subsistence farmers.
Despite the fact that Caprivi is surrounded by perennial rivers only those near rivers have access to river water. The majority of the population in the interior of the country depend on boreholes that are either saline or dried up when the people are still in need of water. This means that farmers have to entirely depend on rainfall for their crops to grow.
6. ADMINISTARTIVE HISTORY A. PRE-COLONIAL ERA
Caprivi was part of Baroseland even before the colonial influences. Being part of Baroseland Caprivi was obviously under the Lozi Kingdom until the time when the Lozi Empire got involved in a war with the Kololo. When the Kololo defeated the Lozi, the Lozi became part of the Kololo and so was the Caprivi. When the Lozi rebelled against the Kololo, Caprivi became part of the rebellion which over threw the Kololo Kingdom and the Lozi Kingdom was once again re-established. It was during this time that King Lewanika appointed and mandated Imataa, a member of the Royal family to become his representative as chief of (Linyandi) Caprivi Zipfel. This is where the Mamili chieftainship started as from 1864 to date.
In summary from:
1600-1700 First Lozi Empire
1820 - 1890 Kololo Empire
1864-1890 Second Lozi Empire
B. COLONIAL ERA
The Caprivi had undergone a multitude of administration changes as the summary below indicates:
The first change came when the Caprivi which was then part of Baroseland and under the British was exchanged with Hegoland in the Pacific and Zanzibar in the Indian ocean which were then Germany positions and that the Caprivi was named after a German known as Cort Von Caprivi as the Germans wanted Caprivi to have access to the Zambezi as well.
1890 Caprivi was annexed to Germany South West Africa.
1914 - 1918 Along with the rest of Germany South West Africa, Caprivi
was placed under the British Military Rule.
1921 - 1929 Administered as part of British Bechuanaland Protectorate.
Administration was allocated to South West Africa
Administration in Windhoek.
1940 - 1981 Administered by South Africa from Pretoria.
1981 - 1989 Under Administration for Caprivians as part of South West
1989 - 1990 Transitional period following the Namibian Independence.
It should be borne in mind that the country being referred to as Caprivi was formally known as Linyandi. The name Caprivi Zipfel started when the German resident by the name of Hoptiman Streitwolf came to Linyanti in January 1909 and he named the country (Caprivi) after the German Chancellor Von Caprivi. All this administrative rotation was only applicable to Caprivi Zipfel since it didn't fit in the South West Africa map.
7. POLITICAL HISTORY
The political transformation started as earlier as 1961 by Caprivian Chiefs who wanted to decide their own destiny according to their own vision, after being
deprived of their rights, privileges and powers by the colonialists. When South Africa which was illegally occupying Caprivi walked out of the common wealth conference of 1961, South Africa became a Republic on its own on the 31st of May 1961. This eventually led to the formation of the Caprivi African National Union (CANU) IN 1963, by Mr Mishake Muyongo, Mr Liseli Mason Mamili, Mr Mutwa George, Mr Charles Mubiana Mubuyaeta and many more others. The pressure at home in the Caprivi Zipfel forced the CANU leadership to flee into exile in Zambia where they merged with SWAPO which was led by Mr Sam Nujoma to prosecute a common struggle against a common enemy. This politicians merger took place on the 5th of November 1964.
The conditions were:
A. To fight for the independence of South West Africa and Caprivi to remove the Colonial apartheid regime that was administering both countries.
B. For the people of Caprivi at the attainment of independence to be allowed to decide whether they join Namibia or remain independent.
The signatories to the merger were Mr Sam Nujoma on behalf of SWAPO and Mr Mishake Muyongo on behalf of CANU. A new party was inaugurated on the 5th of August 1985, the United Democratic Party (UDP) of Caprivi, which has a constitution, as it was in the former CANU constitution.
Its first congress was held in Katima Mulilo on the 26th of August 1985 and every six years thereafter.
The United Democratic Party (UDP) of Caprivi allied to the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance during the 1989 elections that bought the Namibian. Independence. This state of affairs continued until the 1st of January 1999 when
the United Democratic Party disaffiliated itself from the Democratic Turnhall
8. THE CURRENT REGIME IN NAMIBIA
Given the above facts, the people of Caprivi in the name of United Democratic Party (UDP), in the name of their tradition began to experience problems which up to this moment are sources of the present crisis in the Caprivi. That is Caprivi is a separate entity with its own peculiar characteristics.
In 1990 when independence was proclaimed, Caprivians instead of being participants began to be spectators of what was to come. In the same year a Unitary State Constitution was adopted despite our opposition.
In 1991 a resolution was taken by the present regime in Namibia to reduce the number of secondary schools in Caprivi from 23 to 8 Senior Secondary Schools. That laid the foundation for discrimination and marginalisation of Caprivians not only in education but all spheres of National life. A programme of political resettlement was started in the entire country with the sole purpose of resettling only the Ovambo speaking people in areas like the Caprivi where the Government had less support in order to boost its political power and dominate people in both employment opportunities and the elections.
Also due to the abolishment of these schools a demonstration was organised by the people of the Caprivi to protest against the degrading of the education system in the Caprivi, including the appointment of a director of education who is a preacher by training leaving educationalists. The demonstration was violently suppressed by the current regime using the army and paramilitary forces.
As a result of the demonstration and to try and pacify the people in Caprivi a commission of enquiry was appointed to report on the grievances concerning the
protest and demonstration. The report was prepared and handed to the president of Namibia who never made the report public up to today.
Regional elections took place in 1992 that were organised, run and supervised by the current regime giving the opposition no room to maneuver and the results were obvious at the end of the day. Now since the United Democratic Party was well organised in the Caprivi, the opposition won the control of the Caprivi.
It was after elections that serious discrimination in terms of political regions as they are called and political marginalization of tradition in the Caprivi withdrew all the benefits and privileges of the chiefs that were reduced from N$3000.00 to N$600.00/ vehicles and houses that were allocated to them were withdrawn, privileges of wild game that were allowed per year were totally abolished. All this done in the name of politics. In 1993 because the regime had lost control of the Caprivi it then introduced a system of divide and rule by forcefully imposing their own appointed traditional leaders who in actual fact were political organisers. They concentrated on trying to destroy the chieftainship of chief Mamili who is the chief of more than 90% of the population of Caprivi, and where the United Democratic Party derives its majority support.
Still the same year 1993 given the political and traditional problems that were created by the current regime, a conference from May 22 to 25 that year was organised to bring about unity of the people in the Caprivi, and a declaration was never respected and still remains just ideas on paper.
On the 2nd of August 1993 the government using the Namibian Defence Force, the police and paramilitary forcefully appointed their own political chief at a place called Sangwali in chief Mamili's area of jurisdiction. This was before the ink of the declaration dried up.
Then still in the same year a very important issue came to the fore and that land was to be grabbed by force from its rightful owners who happened to be people of
Caprivi in the name of their traditional rulers. This land was to be given to a private Egyptian Company then known as Pedico. Caprivian chiefs and politicians protested strongly against giving away land to this so-called private Egyptian Company.
The government believed in forcing matters and a crisis was only averted when the high priest of this company was found wanting in terms of finance.
In 1994 there were parliamentary and presidential elections which were also organised, run and supervised by the government of the day so much so that irregularities were experienced and a court case was instituted in the high court by the opposition and eventually the supreme court which up to this moment the final decision on this case remains unknown.
It should be understood that in present Namibia there is no independent electoral commission to organise, run and supervise elections.
In 1995 a water project that was part of the capital projects in the Caprivi had to be stopped from being realised because of political considerations. This project up to this time remains a white elephant.
In 1996 as part of the so-called development in the Caprivi there was what was called Rural Electrification which was used only for political expedience. It was only allowed to reach places in the Caprivi where the current regime has support, because by then there was a regional constituency that had fallen vacant, and immediately after filling that vacancy the project was stopped up to now.
Last but not the least of the problems that we are mentioning is that of the stoppage of the water pipeline that was to run the length and breadth of the Caprivi from Bagani to the last point in the East, Ngoma. This project was to help the people in the Caprivi, their animals, their agriculture etc, but had to be abandoned totally because the areas in which this project was to be realised was controlled by the opposition and that the majority of the people supported the
United Democratic Party (UDP) of Caprivi. Even when the Germans wanted to take over that project the government refused it to be realised.
1998 was the year of action. The people having being marginalised in all spheres of life, decided that the Caprivi has become a colonial hiccup of Namibia and had to be removed in order to provide for the citizens of Caprivi.
Firstly a debate was started as to the historical road the Caprivi and its people had taken from time immemorial to the present day. And it was found that Caprivi has been a country, a place and an entity on its own, with its own people who have their own culture and tradition.
This debate unleashed violet suppression by the present government in Namibia. The San people commonly known as bushmen were victimised, harassed and some were killed and those who managed to run with their bear lives into Botswana some have scars on their bodies of torture and beatings. They were even refused the so-called Drought Aid, instead animal fodder was given to them as food. Their cattle have been confiscated and taken to Owamboland in total so much so that those San people, few as they may be, have nothing they call their own.
Rapping of their women and burning their houses by the Namibian Defence Force and Paramilitary has become the order of the day in the western part of Caprivi.
The leaders of the party and traditional leaders who championed the cause of the people were to be arrested and possibly to be killed only the quick action on their part to flee into Botswana saved their lives and their supporters, where they are currently living since the end of October 1998.
9- THE HUMAN RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS VIOLATED IN THE CAPRIVI
Namibia has a democratic constitution which was adopted and accepted by all Namibians in 1990. For the past eight years of independence the constitution of Namibia became a white elephant. This is particularly true of undemocratic government whose constitution is clearly more than "a show case" designed to reassure the outside world that the country is democratically ruled, while in reality it is a democratic constitution on paper and an instrument for attracting foreign donor countries, investors and tourists. The Namibian constitution chapter 3 articles 1 to 25 states clearly of the fundamental human rights and freedoms that need to be respected and protected. Instead the Caprivian people received political humiliation, marginalisation, degradation and oppression from the government of Namibia - as - mentioned below.
1. (a) A number of Brutal killings took place in the Caprivi e.g. A
young brother to chief Kippi George was shot and killed at Divundu..
Late Mr victor Falali Nkoma was shot and killed at Linyanti Late journalist Peterkins Nkoma was killed in Katima Mulilo and many more were killed by the Namibian Defence Force and the special field force in the Caprivi Zipfel. (b) The following were shot and wounded by the same forces in Caprivi and only recovered in hospital: Mr Erustus Kachele from Lisikili
2. On the issue of harassment, rape, torture and intimidation the Nujoma regime operated on party lines and creed. Some people's wives were raped and beaten by the Namibian Defence Force, more especially in area such as Linyanti, Singobeka, Omega 3, Cheto and Divundu.
Livestock such as cattle, goats and sheep and other belongings were grabbed, confiscated and taken to Ovamboland without the owners' consent.
Army camps were erected in between rural village and water points to trap passing ladies for rape before reaching water points. On the 17th of October 1998 on a Saturday the army and special field force disrupted a church service at Sachona village and arbitrarily arrested those who were praying.
3. Traditionally chiefs are the custodians of all communal land in the Caprivi, but the Nujoma regime has started using the system of divide and rule by trying to divide the people of Caprivi into smaller *ans.
In all effort to try and grab land from the Caprivian people, in the name of their traditional leaders, the government of Namibia stripped off the powers, privileges and rights of chiefs in the Caprivi as elucidated below:
a) The Nujoma regime politically established new chieftainship in areas where they never existed whom they use as political organisors. This is how the chieftainships of Sifu at Sangwali and Mayuni at Choi (Mashi Area) started. Recently they managed to instigate George - Simasiku to rebel against chief Mamili, so that he may be appointed as chief, in chief Mamili's place. This planned appointment was a violation of tradition and culture of the people of Caprivi, because George Simasiku was imposed on the people against their will.
b) By imposing a foreign company in the name of pedico on the people of Caprivi in an effort to grab land without consulting the people of the Caprivi and their traditional authorities.
c) The break up by the special field force and army of traditional meetings at Linyanti, Muyako, Mushukula and Mashi from 1995 to 1998.
In 1998 again the police broke up a meeting in the Caprivi near Divundu, between the Koe (San) and a none Governmental Organisation.
4 An arbitrary interference with privacy, family homes and correspondence.
It is noted that the Namibian Constitution provides all citizens with the
right to privacy and requires arresting officers to secure a judicial warrant
before - conducting a search.
Under the Namibian Central Intelligence service act passed in 1997 by Namibian Parliament which Authorises the NCIS to conduct wiretapes, intercept mail and - engage in any covert activities, both inside and outside the country to protect national security. There were reports that the NCIS requested footage from NEC of a demonstration in Katima Mulilo in 1998 seeking to identity demonstrators from the video tapes. In addition to the above the army and special field force entered people's homes searching houses without warrants of search, interrogating and arresting people during midnight.
This was done at this time of the night because they feared to be questioned by the world international community and the human rights organisation.
5 Despite the policy of national reconciliation which was adopted by the Nujoma regime at independence, employment was and still is conducted on political - consideration, a) Former - soldiers from the former apartheid regime of South
African regime, SWATF, koevoet and school leavers in the Caprivi
are denied the rights to employment.
b) Many Ovambo speaking people were and still are taken from Ovamboland for employment in the Caprivi at the expense of the people of Caprivi.
(i) 82 cleaners at Caprivi Hospital
(ii) Road Service Cleaners
(iii) Refuse Removal Company in Katima
c) Recently a number of Caprivian police officers were transferred on political grounds by Nujoma regime.
d) As far as senior posts and promotions are concerned, Caprivians are ignored regardless of whether they do have relevant qualifications if only they are not supporters of the ruling party.
6 Prior to independence the education in the Caprivi was rated the third
after the whites and that of the coloureds which was - compared to the
rest of the then South West Africa, with 23 senior secondary schools. But
after independence these schools were reduced to only 8 senior secondary
schools to deny Caprivians the right to education.
7 Media in the Caprivi was so restricted that journalists working for any media sector in the Caprivi be it radio, TV, and newspaper were not allowed to - report on any controversial issues against the government.
This resulted in the death of a journalist by the name of late Peterkins Nkoma who reported on the issue of the Caprivi and other issues against the government. His death was investigated but the report was never made public.
8. From 1990 to February 1999 Caprivi was illegally governed by the Namibian government because the laws that were enacted by the Namibian parliament were not applicable to Caprivi as was recently proved by the act of parliament to seek legal powers over the Caprivians. Namibian government knew that laws enacted by their parliament did not apply to Caprivi but still they did not allow Caprivians to exercise their right to decide whether they wanted to be part of Namibia or remain separate as was stated in the merger between CANU of the Caprivi and SWAPO of South West Africa on the 5th of November 1964 in Lusaka, Zambia.
Given the above the forceful sending of Caprivians who are in the Namibian Defence Force to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is not only a violation of human right but illegal.
10. THE CURRENT STAND POINT
The people of Caprivi after examining the political, social and development situation visa vie the Caprivi have now resolved that Caprivi was and is an independent country and that independence will have to be achieved using the political, diplomatic and if necessary the military option.
We shall leave no stone unturned in our quest for nationhood.
It is a matter of life and death for the people of the Caprivi, it is them alone that can change the history or re-write their own history of the Caprivi. We are appealing to all those peaceful loving people to join us as Caprivians to inform the un-informed and those who know about Caprivi. Our plea is we are our own liberators.
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