News and Information

July 12, 2005

At independence instead of being participants Caprivians became spectators in the development of their Motherland. Very little or virtually no development was brought to the Caprivi. Some scholars in Namibia refers to the so-called trans-Caprivi high way formerly known as B8 as development for the Caprivi. It is interesting to note that this road which is supposedly for Caprivi stated at Otavi in Namibia passing through Grootfontein, Okavango region through to the Caprivi. Form Otavi to Mukuvi (the border between Namibia and the Caprivi) the distanced between is approximately 600 km as compared to +_ 400 km from Mukuvi to Ngoma. Statistically therefore the Trans-Caprivi high way is more a Namibian development than a Caprivian one. This road could be easily called the Trans Okavango high way, because it runs through the entire length of the Okavango region. An English speaking person knows that the word Trans means to pass through – having a different destination. This brings us to the purpose of building this road. It was meant to connect Namibia to the rest of the SADC region. The same could be said about the bridge, since other than the above mentioned there is not a single tarred road in the Caprivi.

Tourism is one other resource which was supposed to develop the Caprivi. Currently there are three national parks in the Caprivi namely; Mamili national park, Mudumu national park and Western Caprivi game reserve. Thousands of tourists visits these parks and bring in millions of Namibian dollars. This money instead of being used to the advantages of the Caprivi, it is taken by Namibia leaving Caprivians in object poverty. The same state of affairs is happening with the same money accrued by the Katima Mulilo town council, and rural electrification is done on party lines. There is also severe shortage of clean drinking water in the rural areas of the Caprivi. This is so inspite of the fact that the country is surrounded by perennial rivers. The majority of the people of the Caprivi are forced to drink borehole water, which is often saline and not fit for consumption. Those who are in the town Katima Mulilo inspite of the proximity of the Zambezi River to the town there are charged exorbitant amounts of money. The rate is even higher than that of Windhoek where there are no rivers. Another disturbing issue is the fact that Caprivians living in towns are given water at specific times. The main tape which takes water to the people is opened from 04: 00am to 8:00am after which they are closed, only to be opened again at 17:00pm to 21:00pm. This means that from 08:00am to 17:00pm nobody is allowed to use water until at 17:00pm. In other words water is being rationed in Katima Mulilo, a town situated on the banks of one of the biggest rivers in Africa, the mighty Zambezi River. In direct contrast to this government has created an artificial lake called Ipalila in Ovamboland. Water being pumped same 200 km in Kaokaland to feed this lake. This lake in turn supplies the rest of Ovamboland at a much cheaper rate.

Medical services and facilities have deteriorated tremendously. There is an acute shortage of medicine and drugs, late alone medical staffs. The only nursing school in the Caprivi was closed down only to be opened in Rundu Okavango region. The whole administration of health and social services was transferred to Rundu.
Education is one other area in which Caprivians are marginalized, 99% of the rural teaching staff still live in traditional mud houses sticks and thatched buildings provided by the communities. In many rural schools the same traditional buildings are still used for classrooms. Standard of living in the Caprivi has deteriorated, the people have became poor than they were before independence. Unemployment has escalated to an alarming rate. It goes without saying that unemployment has turned many young men into criminals and young women into prostitutes, which explains why the number of HIV AIDS victims has risen in the country.

Agriculture in the rest of Namibia is subsidized by 60%, in sharp contrast this sector is completely neglected by the so said government in the Caprivi. Farmers are only restricted to plough three hectors, not because they don’t have farming land but because they are no resources. Even the three hectors, farmers are required to pay 100% of the cost per hector. Commercial farming is unknown in the Caprivi, however it should be mentioned here that Caprivi is producing the best meat in Namibia that is exported to the European countries, but Caprivians don’t benefit any thing from these sales. After the1992 regional and local government election Swapo realized that they would never win in the Caprivi. They therefore assigned Mr. Herman Toivo ya Toivo, a graduate from of divide and rule from Robin Island to divide the people of Caprivi, but all efforts to do so proved fruitless. At the end of the day he realized that the only way he could achieve his mission was to create chieftainships. This saw the birth of the chieftainship of Sangwali and Mayuni. He was assisted by same disgruntled politicians such as Mr. Patrick Mufalo Limbo and Mr. Ernest Simasiku Likando( late Pondongozi), the two Caprivians who were promised higher positions by Swapo should they bring a number of people in the party ( Swapo), promises that never materialized up to this day. We are happy to mention that even this tactic failed drastically because Swapo still failed to win in Caprivi.


Given the economic deprivation of Caprivians by the Namibian regime it became apparent that Caprivians had to look elsewhere for assistance, it was during this time that a White man by the name of Mr. Zimmerman seemed to promise assistance, in terms of development. According to him he was prepared to assist in agricultural sector, by providing funds to boost development. This man invited the Caprivian leadership to Pretoria for a final meeting. Little did they realize that this man was a Namibia spy working with Victor Lipoiso Muituti another Namibian spy, a Caprivian national. These two men were recruited by the Namibian government to see to the downfall of Mr. Muyongo, Chief Mamili and their people. In September 1998 a delegation headed by the two leaders left for Pretoria. A meeting was scheduled for the following day on Saturday September 1998, which in fact never materialized on that scheduled day. Mr. Muyongo’s delegation arrived late at the meeting place only to find that Victor Lipoiso Muituti and his delegation had already arrived. It was a surprise to Mr. Muyongo ‘s delegation as well as chief Mamili because none of them knew that Victor would be part of this meeting. Seemingly he had arranged with his spy colleague to come and help him incriminate Mr. Muyongo and his delegation. One thing that surprised Mr. Muyongo’s delegation was that, instead of Mr. Zimmerman to introduce the topic of discussion, he wanted to reconcile the two delegations. Seemingly Mr. Muituti had told him that he was at loggerhead with Mr. Muyongo. This was not received very happily because Mr. Muyongo and his delegation were surprised, who gave him the mandate to reconcile them. After a few harsh tongue slashing form Mr. Muyongo’s delegation, Mr. Zimmerman left the meeting angrily. The whole episode took less than (5) minutes, and that was the end of the whole Pretoria meeting. It was fortunate that Victor Mututii’s delegation were recording the process.

The delegation was surprised when they arrived back home to be informed that the whole of their trip to Pretoria was already published by the print media, particularly the government sponsored news paper New era. The allegation attached to this trip, were that the delegation had gone to ask for weapons of war to secede the Caprivi from the rest of Namibia, something which was completely false and unfounded. The government instead of investigating the issue reacted harshly not only to those who went to Pretoria, but to all Caprivians. Some members from Mr. Muyongo’s delegation received telephonic death threats. Many soldiers were deployed in the Caprivi with a view to oppress and suppress what ever idea Caprivians had regarding the secession of the Caprivi. In reality caprivians didn’t go to Pretoria to secede the Caprivi. After all they was no need for them to go Pretoria to ask for weapons, if at all they wanted to secede Caprivi from Namibia they could get weapons from Namibia. In reality the question of the Caprivi is not of secession, it is a question of the area regaining its original status as a country.

These soldiers who were sent to the Caprivi started with a very bad campaign of intimidation, harassment, humiliation, arbitrary arrests and illegal dentations of innocent Caprivians. Specifically, on the 12 October 1998 a village called Omega 3 in Western Caprivi was ransacked by the security forces. Women and children were assaulted and raped. Men were arrested and detained accusing them of being Muyongo’s people. On the 14 October 1998, the same thing happened in Katima Mulilo, hundreds of innocent Caprivians were arrested and detained in the Katima Mulilo police custody. It was full to an extent that the detainees had to be left inside the police fence outside custody. These were accused of not having their identity cards on them at the time of arrest. On the 17 October 1998, a similar incidence occurred at Sachona Village. At this village the soldiers disrupted a church service and arbitrarily arresting members of the congregations. They went to an extent of arresting a blind man. This is the country regarded by the international community as a model of democracy, is this democracy?

These harassments, intimidation and detention caused the exodus of the Caprivians into exile. An important event worthy mentioning is the shooting of Victor Falali by the Namibian security forces. This shooting incidence was blamed on CLA members. It is surprising that hardly a meter from Falali’s house there was an army camp. People start wondering how the CLA members could have killed a man thirty meters away from the army camp, without arresting the culprits. From 27 October to mid December 1998, thousands of Caprivians crossed the border into neighboring Botswana.


Look forward for Part III and final Part of this article.


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