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Concerned Caprivi group protests
May 11, 2010
Today 2010-05-11

Concerned Caprivi group protests

Caprivi Governor, Mr. Leonard Mwilima talks to Caprivi VisionBy Risco LUMAMEZI

A GROUP of Leaders heading Civic Organizations in the Caprivi Region calling themselves the Caprivi Concerned Group have given Governments that previously colonised the Caprivi Strip, including the Namibian government sixty-days to respond to their demands.

The group was formed just after the week long workshop on the National Budget Review was held in Katima Mulilo at the end of February 2010. The workshop was conducted by the Forum For the Future (FFF), a local Namibian Non Governmental Organisation based in Windhoek.

The group took to the streets of Katima Mulilo on March 23, 2010 with their petition which they handed over to the Caprivi Regional Governor, Leonard Mwilima, who promised to deliver their petition to the relevant Authorities.

The petition was addressed to embassies of the Federal Republic of Germany, The United Kingdom, South Africa, United Nations residence of Namibia and Government of Namibia.

Parts of the petition read: “On behalf of the residence of the Caprivi Region, especially the poor and the voice less. We are here to protest against the above mentioned bodies for failing to develop Caprivi Region for the past 100 years.”
Their concerns are to find answers to the issues affecting the Caprivi Region and its people. Some of the issues are:
1. High rate of unemployment 90%.
2. High rate of crime.
3. High rate of HIV/AIDS 43%.
4. Traditional leaders as politicians.
5. Failing of public service delivery.
6. No civil society and civic organization.
7. No consultants with the public on crucial issues.
8. Western Caprivi as Eastern Kavango.
9. Caprivi region being sub regional to Kavango region.
10. Majority Caprivians failing to get national documents.
11. Over age in education becoming a problem to our region
12. High failure rate in schools.
13. No Universities and factories in the region.
14. No towns apart from the so-called Katima Mulilo Town.
15. No Street names, no tarred roads.
16. No good governance, no transparency and the rule of law and accountability.
17. One party-state rule in the region.
18. No direct participation in development from the public.
19. No local initiatives, which are accommodated by the government from the public.
20. Oppression, tribalism, nepotism and favouritism.
21. Using the Caprivi region resources for self-enrichment, without benefiting the poor people on the ground.
22. Corruption and negligence.
23. Poor leadership and no consultants to the Caprivians on national issues.

“We demand “equal treatment” with other regions in the country. Democracy should be observed in the whole country. Good governance, the rule of law, Transparency, Accountability and respect for human rights under chapter 3 in the constitution of the Republic of Namibia. Swapo government should observe and respect Chapter 1 Article 1 enshrined in the constitution of the Republic of Namibia 1, 2, 4 and 6,” read parts of the petition.

They have, however, called for the establishment of a refuge camp in the Caprivi Region to control refugees entering the Caprivi Region. The Caprivi region is considered as a gateway to the SADC Region.
The group also appealed for a peaceful dialogue on the Caprivi issue between Caprivi African National Union (CANU) and South West Africa Peoples Origination (SWAPO) in Lusaka Zambia. CANU and SWAPO mergered in 1964.

They have therefore expressed dissatisfaction on the delay of the Caprivi high treason case, which has since been dragged on for more than 10 years before Namibian Courts and termed it as unconstitutional.
They called for the Reconciliation of the Caprivi secessionism issue.

“The SWAPO Government should account for the resources both financially and other forms of resources being received from developed and developing countries and other welfare organizations since 1990 on behalf of the Caprivi region.” they stressed.

The Caprivi concerned group is also advocating for the establishment of the historical monuments of a Germany imperialist Late Captain Von Caprivi and Honourable Brendan Kangongolo Simbwaye President of CANU in the Caprivi region.

“Reasons for historical backgrounds will be used for Tourism attraction in the region, we want a Kangongolo day to be observed by the SWAPO Government and the entire nation as a token of respect for the whole country.”

Some of the key concerns raised in their petition are the deployment of security forces along the borders surrounding Caprivi and the construction of many hospitals in the Caprivi region in order to regionalize the Katima Mulilo State Hospital than those administered under Kavango region.

“We need answers from the relevant authorities, within 60 days from the date received.” Read the petition.
Among the protestors was Mr Martin Lukato President of National Democratic Party (NDP) who is serving in the committee as Chairman. Katima Alliance Development Association (KADA) represented by Mr Benson Kaapala a founding Chairman who is the Secretary of the Caprivi Concerned Group , Ms Margaret Mpulila represented Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) a member from the Caprivi Church Forum, Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) was Represented by Mr George Kwenda Njekwa, Democratic Turnhale Alliance (DTA) by Mr Mbonzi including Community Activists from the Caprivi NGO movements like Mr David Siseho and Mr Kamwi Roberts Sililo while Mr Regan Kamwengo from Caprivi Traditional Healers Association (CATHA).

Contacted for comments if they were any answer from the Governments, the Governor of the Caprivi Region, Mr. Leonard Mwilima, confirmed that he received the petition and has already forwarded it to the relevant authorities.

“I don’t have a mandate to answer on their behalf. I told them when I received the petition when they said that there’s no democracy in the Republic. I told them that it’s not true, since independence we have had regular elections in this country. Even the concerned groups can even come to hand over their petition under the protection of the law enforcement that in it self is democracy. This happens with a Government that listens to the people,” said the Governor.

Asked on whether they would respond after the 60 days, Mwilima said: “We are the Government will respond to the issues that need urgent addressing. We can’t talk about issues that need our concerns. We are a caring Government. We care and we are accountable for the people’s well being. I said all those concerns which are of mutual interest for the benefit of the region, definitely need to be addressed. I have nothing against them.”

“They are talking about the HIV / AIDS pandemic which we all know about. We have to say thank you but some of those concerned groups are no where to be seen during regional Aids day but if you are concerned group why don’t you go were people are gathered because they need your contribution there.” He further added.

A founding member of the Caprivi Discussion Forum, who opted to remain anonymous, told the Caprivi Vision that the aim of the Caprivi Discussion Forum in the region was to sensitize the community of Caprivi about some of the fundamental freedoms of expression. Therefore, the formation of the Caprivi Concerned Group is beyond its missions and Objectives including those of its partner.

They will be waiting with bated breath on the 23rd of May 2010 as it marks the last day that they expect a positive response from the relevant authorities.


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