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Caprivi Case, United Democratic Party’s Perspective 3
April 14, 2010
Caprivi Case, United Democratic Party’s Perspective 3

In politics nothing happens by accident. If it happens you bet it was planned that way. The Namibian government under SWAPO saw and knew that if they left the Caprivi constituencies as they were demarcated in the first place, they could barely get good political votes from the Caprivi. They then decided to send in a tactician in the name of Toivo ya Toivo to come and study the terrain and how politics play in the Caprivi. He reported back to central government and SWAPO that Caprivi was intact and the only way to win was to disintegrate its people by establishing new chieftainships which today has become a problem in terms of a budget as they have become too many, and redemarcating constituencies. It should be noted here that Caprivians know their origin and the road they travelled from time immemorial to today.

For argument’s sake, if one could probe a question whether or not the people of the Caprivi see a difference between the Apartheid South African regime and the neo colonial SWAPO regime of Namibia, in terms of their tactics in depriving Caprivians amenities to survive and pursue their potentials for good life and happiness. A handful of people would say they have achieved success in today’s government of Namibia as one is a minister, a permanent secretary, a director, etc. The majority of the people in the Caprivi which includes the youth, mothers, villagers, and the mid-management workers and many other groups at the receiving end would say they were better off during the apartheid regime in comparison to today’s oppression of a black man. Reasons being that the first was a white apartheid regime that discriminated people based on their color and origin, whereas the later is a black man whose intention is to permanently oppress and suppress the people of the Caprivi. The people of the Caprivi during the apartheid regime saw development in terms of education as they were ranked the third from that of the whites and coloreds in the entire Namibia. Many people including the youth got employments in the army, education, and agriculture, etc. The government was taking care of its people. Caprivi was turned into a beautiful administrative town. It was bad omen to talk of diseases like HIV/AIDS as it became prevalent in the Caprivi from 1989 after the return of SWAPO and the high influx of the United Nation (UNTAG)personnel in the country.

It was the Apartheid regime that built the Caprivi General Hospital, the administrative block (Boma), Ngweze Township, the Breeding Scheme, Primary and Secondary Schools, Chinchimani and Bukalo khuta, etc. Crime was controlled and the people of the Caprivi slept well and lived in harmony with each other as they called themselves as brothers and sisters, cousins, uncles and neighbors, etc. Today the Caprivi is the last in terms of education and development compared to the rest of Namibia. Scholarships in Namibia are awarded according to those with connections to the elite and most disturbing they are awarded to the elite and their children. To be more specific after the former President Mr. Sam Nujoma’s fifteenth year in office he made sure that he awarded himself a scholarship to study at the University of Namibia. If this happens who will then sponsor a poor village man’s daughter or son to pursue a College Diploma or University Degree?

In the past Chief Mamili and Chief Moraliswani had their traditional administration supported and recognized by government as they played their roles in terms of helping administering the people. This was done in such a way that they worked hand in hand without encroaching each other as they kept a cushion in terms of where one starts and end, and all was well in the Caprivi. You see, the SWAPO regime felt threatened by the status quo, and in an attempt to end Traditional Administrations, they reduced the traditional authorities pay scales and returned all the government vehicles that the khuta was given by the Apartheid regime, for example the Chief and the Ngambela’s vehicles. Now when they saw that the pendulum in terms of elections was now swinging down on their side and up to the side of the opposition parties, they then bought votes by giving back one vehicle to each Chief, something that they revoked in the first place.

Each time we listen to news on television and internet we never hear of new projects earmarked for the Caprivians. What the SWAPO government does is this that they always search and find projects that would cause controversy to the people of the Caprivi. Projects like the popular PEDICO, etc. The reason they do this is to find a scapegoat of saying Caprivians do not want development and redirect good ones to Ovamboland. The people of the Caprivi are not backward, they see through your plans and tactics after all they know you well. It is because of these tactics that the Caprivi has become the poorest of the poor places in Namibia. The people of the Caprivi have come a long way experiencing the harsh and reality of life and its problems. Village men and women are the worst people stricken by poverty. They have the land but lack material support to fully utilize their land to its full potential. When support is extended to them, government only allows each family to plough only three hectors of land which is not enough even for subsistence farming.

It is always hard for an empty stomach to think of anything else except thinking about the hunger and starvation. The poor Caprivian youth without jobs and worse still without education first start stealing their only parents’ cattle to sell in order to buy food and clothing. Others without resources turn into gangsters to substitute for employment. This is very dangerous as many die young and others become difficult to rehabilitate. Juvenile delinquency becomes a reality and the area is turned into an uncontrolled State. For women and girls turn into prostitution which becomes the breeding ground for diseases including HIV/AIDS. All these can be brought by the lack of education and jobs that can sustain the livelihood of every individual. The saying that by educating the child, you educate the world is not a reality in the Caprivi. The SWAPO government has a calculated move of seeing Caprivian children not making it in education in order not to trouble them in employment opportunities has become a reality.

If labor or odd jobs like working as cleaners in the hospital and elsewhere has to be imported from other places in Namibia to the Caprivi this causes not only lake of employment but also problems as mentioned in the preceding paragraph. Foreign Direct Investment does not only apply to foreign investors but can happen to people within the same country. If not controlled the people of some areas like the Caprivi will suffer as they will not have jobs because they will be filled by those from other places.

This brings us to the question of Caprivians imprisoned in Namibia indefinitely. We just learnt that their case after judge Holf threw away the witnesses’ evidence as inadmissible in court was appealed in the Supreme Court in Namibia. The question is how long does Namibia want to keep the innocent Caprivians in prison? They have done nothing wrong; they are Caprivian political prisoners who have done nothing wrong with Namibia. They want self determination leading to independence. To seek self determination is not a criminal case but a Human Right. Their case is not criminal but a political case that needs a political solution. It is in line with international laws that the Namibian courts should find all these Caprivians not guilty of any criminal offence(s) in Namibia, and direct the case to the Executive Branch of Government for a Political Solution. Caprivians are not the first to undergo this rough road to freedom as SWAPO is but a good example to attest to this. We strongly believe that by indefinitely keeping Caprivians in prison Namibia violates not only the United Nation Charter and Convention on political prisoners but also their constitution. These are human beings and not animals that deserve the right to be free from oppression of any form and pursue good life and happiness. They are fathers, sons, brothers, and family man whose families depend on them for their livelihood.

It is because of your cruelty that they say no to all forms of oppression, suppression, and repression. It is because Caprivians share no common purpose that they want to opt out. It is because Caprivians see and find no future in Namibia that they say not anymore. It is because Caprivians are a nation with strong Tradition and culture violated by the SWAPO government that they say not any further. It is because of the ill-treatment at the hands of the SWAPO government that the say enough is enough. We are different from the rest of Namibia. We are a Caprivian Nation and not Namibians. Do not force to govern us but ask us, and if we allow then it is going to be legitimate, but if we say no or refuse let go of us. Caprivi is still remote and poor, but we know that we shall manage our Country’s affairs when you are gone and not there anymore.

We demand the release of all Caprivian prisoners in the Namibian prisons, and that the Namibian government should create a platform allowing Caprivians to exercise their right to determine their future. A referendum is the only better tool to use in case where disputes like this one where government and Caprivians are at logger –heads over the jurisdiction of the land. This is not only logical but shall bring about a lasting solution to the Caprivi Case. This is a democratic Principle that exists in International Protocols and Charters. We find the issue of the Caprivi as forced occupation and that the Namibian government is imposing themselves over the people of Caprivi.


Chrispin Mutoiwa

UDP Secretary for Information


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