Baherero in Ngamiland have written to government seeking permission to relocate to Namibia.
This follows reports that Baherero communities are renouncing their Botswana citizenships and are going back to Namibia in large numbers.
In a letter addressed to the Botswana Government, Baherero state that their voluntary relocation to Namibia was prompted by poverty because they are unable to sell their livestock as a result of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in the Ngamiland area.
Information passed to Sunday Standard indicates that Ngamiland leadership traversed the constituency where Baherero are residing in attempt to address their concerns.
It is understood that during the consultative meetings with Baherero in different villages, they have openly expressed their intention to relocate to the neighbouring country. They reasoned that have been reduced to destitutes because they are unable to sell their livestock which they rely on as their livelihood.
A letter with a list of over 250 Baherero addressed to the Botswana government explains their intention to relocate.
Nokaneng tribal leader, Kgosi Kebonyetsala Fish confirmed that Baherero have indicated in the meetings that they want to relocate with their livestock, citing poverty as their main reason. He stated that Baherero have indicated that their livelihoods depend on cattle, and if they cannot sell, as is the case in Ngamiland due to the foot and mouth disease, they have been pushed into poverty. Fish said it was not only those in the list that want to relocate, but many tribesmen have shown interest during Kgotla meetings. He said if Baherero were to be repatriated this would have adverse effects on the population of the area.
Baherero have expressed concern that the uncontrolled FMD in Ngamiland has impoverished them. The district leadership is expected to advise government on the matter after meeting all those concerned.
The advisor to the Namibian Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration Dr Ngarikutuke Tjiriange is quoted as saying that “We have advised the Ovaherero groups as we still do now to go back as no one will deal with them directly and individually. We have listened to their grievances and understood it but they should understand that they are still Botswana citizens according to the law and we cannot be seen to be dealing with them behind backdoors.”
The minister’s special advisor said: “Those categories of people are now still in possession of the citizenship of Botswana and yet they are, by all intents and purposes, citizens of Namibia. Such people are now faced with a dilemma because they cannot easily get the documents of Namibia as was the case back then. This situation is in part caused by some unreasonable and difficult, if not legally unsound demands and prerequisites, set in place by some of our ministries.”