News and Information

March 17, 2021

Distinguished members of the media, you are welcome to this press conference.

The press conference is necessitated by the following observations, to which particular interventions are proposed to Government of Namibia following these observations.

We have observed that:

A. Government of Namibia ceded Situngu Island to Botswana through the 2018 boundary treaty without proper consultations and in total disregard of a restrain order from the African Commission on Human and People's Rights in September 2016 advising Namibia not to sign the boundary treaty.

B. People of Caprivi have been victims of Botswana’s aggression, extrajudicial killings along Chobe-Linyanti rivers with impunity, and Namibia have failed to protect the lives and rights of these community members in this regard.

C. Since last year, Namibia and Botswana are in talks to extradite members of our party unlawfully held in Gerald Center of Illegal Immigrants in Botswana to come back home and face treason charges in Namibia.

D. Concerns from Caprivians are always met with terrifying arrogance, and violence in some cases, from Government of Namibia and officially considered by same government as pointless, unnecessary or an agitation of war, no matter how genuine and serious such matters or concerns are.

We therefore demand that Government of Namibia:

1. Withdraw from the boundary treaty entered into with Botswana in February 2018, and the treaty be terminated for invalidity on the basis that:

a. Botswana government has blood of innocent Caprivians on her hands and, as a result, the treaty is blood stained.

b. the treaty was completed and entered into fraudulently and in bad faith as the affected border community was not consulted, and they never consented to the dispossession of their ancestral land to Botswana.

c. the treaty has a serious error in the demarcation of the boundary with reference to the left channel of Linyanti which does not exist. What exists, and referred to in the treaty as the left channel of Linyanti river from Kwando, are wetlands or swamps not a river channel.

d. The signing of the treaty by Namibia is an international blunder and embarrassment as it was done with full knowledge of a restrain order from the African Commission of Human and Peoples Rights not to sign the treaty. The commission is a quasi-judicial body created under the authority of African Charter which Namibia ratified in 1992, whose decisions should be complied with by all parties to the Charter.

e. The treaty, and the effect thereof, conflicts with particular peremptory norms of general international law and or public international law, with reference to indigenous land rights, the principle of self-determination and the law of treaties, as enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.

2. Clears the names of our members remaining in Botswana to allow them back home without subjection to prosecution, as it did with other names. The President should invoke Article 32(3)(d) of Namibia’s Constitution and declare an amnesty for all Caprivians in exile to come back home and all Caprivi political prisoners to be released

3. Adopts executive policies and legislative measures to ensure that people of Caprivi Strip enjoy the rights and freedoms relating to equality; freedom from external aggression; and the right of self-determination; as enshrined in the UNDRIP, ICCPR and the African Charter. Caprivians, contributed immensely to the independence of Namibia and should never be treated like second-class citizens. They should be listened to when they complain; they need not to cry or fight to be heard. There should be nothing about them and their territory without them or their consent.

In conclusion, we wish to implore National Assembly to invoke relevant provisions of the Constitution to support calls for amnesty and to initiate a referendum on the Caprivi political dispute in order to constitutionally and democratically resolve this long-standing dispute.

I thank you.

Signed ____________________
By Mr. Duscan Salwendo Mulisa
Chairperson of the United Democratic Party
In Katima Mulilo, Caprivi Strip

Source: United Democratic Party (UDP)

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