By Khonani Ontebetse
Namibian refugees have appealed to President Mokgweetsi Masisi to intervene and stop what they describe as an underhand means by some government officials to boot them out of the country. The refugees who are former members of United Democratic Party who fled from what was known as Kaprivi Strip in Namibia accused Botswana of throwing its democratic ideals through window by (ignoring who they are when it comes to the Caprivian issue.”
United Democratic Party President Meshake Muyongo said the forced repatriation of the 25 October 2018 under which Abel Walubita, Ben Zwelo, Nzundamo Matemwa and Limbo Malala were taken to Caprivi Strip is an open breach of international instruments that governs asylum seekers and refugees conventions.
“It is a common cause that the acts of Botswana Government this far on the Caprivian people is just aimed to appease Namibia on friendly basis. The dubious so called repatriation being conducted in Dukwi is actually a direct contempt of Court order of 18 March 2016 and 25 July 2018 consecutively held at Lobatse High Court,” he said. Muyongo said these Caprivians were repatriated against their will, the Government imposed migration laws that does not apply to political refugees in any circumstances as per the definition of a refugee under UN convention of 1951 and protocol of 1967.
“Two of the deportees were in the Centre for illegal immigrants after saving their sentences; they were later pounded with prohibited immigrants (PI) which rendered them to fall under immigration laws,” he said.
He alleged that one of them was stolen from his relatives in Dukwi Refugee Camp, as he was picked by cheating him that they are transporting him to his house after buying him a drink.
“In a nutshell, I never expected Botswana to treat Caprivians in this manner, Caprivians and Batswana fought historical battles together, and Botswana should not forget the past, because it is the past that makes the good present,” he said.
Muyongo said “It is a surprise as the Government says they cannot afford to lose their friendship with Namibia because of the Caprivi issue; a clear and loud statement that Caprivians are the means to strengthen their friendship. This newly found friendship with Namibia is a double edged knife that will not cut only Caprivians but Batswana too.”
He said he was informed of humiliation and psychological torture Caprivians are receiving from the commanders of Dukwi Refugee Camp who are charged with the affairs of refugees; they are being threatened and called names, that they are afraid of hunger that is why they are refusing to go home, and many more. He appealed to President Mokgweetsi Masisi to revisit the manner in which the Caprivians are being treated in Botswana.
“The judiciary of Botswana holds the clear record as to what made Caprivians flea from Namibia. On four different occasions the High Court of Botswana ruled that Caprivians should not be taken back to Namibia citing political reasons,” he said.
Muyongo said the Government of Botswana has a clear advice and direction from the Judiciary as per the four consecutive rulings in the High Court as to what the nature, and how the Caprivi issue should be handled.