- International relations minister tells parliament he confronted Kwape about BDF killings
- Kwape and his Namibian counterpart had meeting that ended in détente
The Namibian parliament has deliberated on the controversial issue of Botswana Defence Force (BDF) border patrol operations, some of which have left a number of Namibians dead.
This followed a meeting between the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Dr Lemogang Kwape and Namibia’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah in Kasane on 2-3 September 2021 at which the two countries sought to resolve their borderline dispute.
Minister Kwape agreed to the concerns raised by the Namibians that there is need to harmonise relations for co-existence between the two countries. Namibia, according to reports in the country’s press, underscored the need for communities living along the common border to have access to natural resources on which they depend for their livelihoods without fear and intimidation by the BDF.
“I wish to inform this august House that during the joint visit, I expressed the concerns of the Namibian people with regard to access to the shared resources along the common river border, as well as the desire for peaceful co-existence, which is currently under threat due to the continuous harassment/intimidation and recurring shootings by the BDF,” Nandi-Ndaitwah told her country’s parliament.
The engagement, it is understood, was also aimed at engaging communities on the significance of a peaceful co-existence, and stirring good relations between the two countries sharing the border.
The two countries further reaffirmed the continuous enjoyment by nationals of both countries of equal access to the shared natural resources along the common river boundary.
Discord between the two countries rose on 5 November last year after the BDF shot and killed three brothers and their cousin along the Chobe River. The BDF referred to them as poachers while the Namibians insisted they were fishermen. The news angered the Namibians to a point where their president referred to the BDF as trigger-happy army in a report to his cabinet. However, the recent meeting between the two countries’ top diplomats ended in détente, which was largely expected.