- SADC Chairman expected in the country this week
- We want a dialogue with the Namibian government – refugees
Namibian President Dr Hage Geingob will come face to face with ‘angry’ Namibian refugees living in Botswana ahead of his meeting with the SADC secretariat in Gaborone this week.
The remaining Namibian refugees living at Dukwi refugee camp are also expected to petition the SADC secretariat office sometime this week demanding that the regional body intervene in what they term the “Caprivi political situation”.
Geingob is expected to visit the SADC Headquarters in Gaborone on Friday in his capacity as chairman of the regional body. He is expected to have a meeting with the SADC secretariat and later on address members of the media on new developments happening within the region.
Namibian refugees led by Felix Kakula have told the Botswana Gazette that they will also use the opportunity to petition SADC on their issues with the Namibian government.
“Currently there are no new developments on our case with Botswana government, but we understand that the President of Namibia Dr Hage Geingob will be in Botswana in his capacity as the head of SADC. We will on that day also make petitions to SADC,” revealed Kakula.
“We want to return home, we have been here for a long time and we want to go back to our land. But first we are going to try and engage SADC on this matter again. We previously tried to engage them but at the time they said the secretariat was out the country, so we will petition them again on Friday.”
Kakula said they want SADC to help resolve their matters with the Namibia government by facilitating a dialogue between the two parties.
“We have tried over and over to have a sit down with the Nambian government, but it has failed, so we are hoping that SADC can facilitate for a dialogue with the Namibian government and sort these matters once and for all and be allowed to return home peacefully,” ended the leader of the Caprivians in Botswana.
Kakula has also previously revealed that they will only return home if the Namibian government accepts them as members of the outlawed United Democratic Party (UDP) led by exiled politician Mishake Muyongo.
He also said that the Namibian government continuously says they are seceding Caprivi from Namibia, which they say is not true. They argue that Caprivi was unilaterally annexed by Namibia forcefully through Act 10 of 1999. He said Caprivians were never consulted.
The government of Botswana is also said to have deported four (4) Namibian refugees late last year in what was deemed to be a cruel and brutal deportation.
Meanwhile the government through Ministry of Defense Justice and Security together with their counterparts from United Nations Higher Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) have already drawn a contingency plan aimed at rescuing the Zimbabweans who are likely to flee the country amid armed forces crackdown.
“Since the violence started, we have been in endless meetings with the ministry, police as well as the immigration department,” UNHCR head of mission in Botswana Arvind Gupta told The Botswana Gazette.
He added “We have a contingency plan which we drew with the government so that we can assist; the situation is very unstable thus far. Unfortunately I can’t share with you the details of the contingency plan. For now we don’t know the figures as to how many are likely to come here.”
Currently there are more than 700 Zimbabwean refugees at the Dukwi Refugee Camp. The refugees are held under tripartite agreement between governments of Botswana, Zimbabwe and UNHCR.