News and Information
THE CAPRIVI STRIP, LAND OF CONTROVERSY
|September 29, 2010
| From pre-colonial to colonial era, the people of the Caprivi through their chiefs preserved their land from being misused by outsiders. The Caprivian history in terms of land has been very clear in that no one bought land for any purposes in the Caprivi, be it that he wanted to erect a farm or build a store, they all leased the people’s land. We want the people of the Caprivi to know that during the SWAPO liberation struggle, plans were that the people of the Caprivi after independence of Namibia be resettled to places like Grootfontein, etc; to give way to project that would turn the Caprivi into a bread basket for Namibia and the SADC region. This plan came about because they realized that land in the Caprivi is fertile that you can plant anything on it and it will grow, and that there is enough River water for irrigation purposes all around the Caprivi. It was halted in part because SWAPO could not fully implement their plans in a democratic country as people could question it. It is now being introduced because SWAPO finds no strong opposition in the Caprivi, as they have instilled fear among the people of the Caprivi.
Imagine what would have happened if all Caprivians had been taken out and resettled to places like Rundu and Grootfontein. What could become of the Caprivi by then and now? We heard that part of western Caprivi was extended to Kavango. We also heard that government wanted to grab land from the people of Sikanjabuka area. This is politics of distraction and the tactic of divide and rule in action. Now we hear of the land between Masokotwani/Lusu and Sangwali that it will be cleared and used as a farm land for the former President’s brother in-law. Information has it that many projects that this brother in-law has been involved in were infact not his own but for the former President. So, you see, this one is similar to all other projects, like for example the bank. The question is why do we allow ourselves to be used by outsiders?
To the Caprivians, we want you to know that land clearing destroys plants and local ecosystems and removes the food and habitat on which other native species rely on. Clearing allows weeds and invasive animals to spread, affects greenhouse gas emissions and can lead to soil degradation, such as erosion and salinity, which in turn can affect water quality. We have animals like cattle where nearly all the people of the caprivi depend on as they use them for many purposes. These animals are being reared in those forests, if cleared to give way for this farm, where will the people of those areas find land to graze their animals? Even though many people in the Caprivi practice subsistence farming, they have their small farms in that forest and in the wetland. There are times when the wetland is covered by water and so, they turn to the forest farms for their survival.
Development should be communicated to the people it is intended to develop. In other words government should come up with projects that benefit the people of the area the project is erected or built at. What benefit will the people of the Caprivi get from the former President’s farm? This will turn the people of the Caprivi into beggars in their own land and country. They will be turned into slaves who will work on the farm getting little wages in return for their labor whereas the owner gets it all. Slavery ended long back in America and thus should not be re-introduced back in the Caprivi in this twenty first century. There is vast land in Ovamboland including Okahao where the former President originates; there is a self created lake that feeds Oshakati and the surrounding areas, the Ipalila. Why not coming up with such a project in those areas and provide Caprivians with resources to develop themselves? Why is this happening only in the Caprivi and not any other place in Namibia? A piece of advice comrade, you will be able to clear, till, and grow whatever you intend to but will never have time to harvest your crops. Caprivi land is not for the Ovambos to destroy as they did in Ovamboland, but for Caprivians to use as they see fit and preserve the rest for the future generation (s).
What Caprivians want is independence of their motherland, to form their own government that will provide its citizens with equipments and money so that they can fully utilize their potential in terms of agriculture. This will come in a form of loans to individuals or groups of people who agree to form projects. This will not only alleviate them from poverty, but liberate them from depending on government for odd jobs that pays little wages not enough for their needs. Caprivians have not failed to do such in order to sustain their livelihood but lack resources in terms of money to develop their full potential in the agricultural sector, after all Caprivians are agriculturalist by nature. The former President’s project if realized will take away land from the people, a resource where most people from those areas depend on, and they will be left with nowhere to graze their cattle or farm in order to provide for their families. That land is the only source of income most people depend on. It is like taking away the air that we breathe; one cannot leave without air, by taking away the air one dies. In other words, the people from that area will die if their land is taken away from them. Question is, where and how will the people from that area survive?
The other issue that deserves mention here is that we recently have learnt that police in the Caprivi has abducted at least eight people or persons from the Caprivi in the middle of the night, and their families are sick to the stomach wondering where their lovely ones were taken to. This has been the order of the day in the Caprivi for a long time now. Many people have missed without trace to date and no one is held accountable for their demise or where-about. We believe government is responsible for these actions and we need and request Human Rights Organization world over to investigate these atrocities and killings of Caprivians by the SWAPO regime of Namibia.
In the past many Caprivians used to be taken out during the middle of the night, interrogated and forced to turn against their own relatives and friends and become government witnesses in the Caprivi Case. Many never returned home, and those who were fortunate to survive have sustained permanent scars, and live to be haunted by the experiences of torture at the hands of the Namibian police force. What SWAPO and government of Namibia lack to comprehend is that, you can take a donkey to the water edge but cannot make it to drink even if you coerce it. Those people you are forcing to be witnesses on the side of government do so because of torture and thus not in their own free will. The question now is, how many Caprivians do you still want to subject to these brutal actions?
Caprivians now live in fear because of the brute force perpetrated on them by the government of Namibia. It is within their life blood that they want nothing to do with Namibia and its dirty politics but want independence of their motherland. We also hear that SWAPO and government of Namibia have repealed or is going to repeal the regional council’s act that used to allow counselors to elect their chairperson who in turn becomes the governor, and swap that with a clause that allows the President to appoint governors. Even though we not after problems in the entire Namibia but concentrate solely on the Caprivi, here is what we think. This is absurd and sheer lunacy to the SWAPO government of Namibia. It is like they now cling to the last straw as clouds are far away to catch when the boat is sinking. If you lack support from the people you should not subject everybody (the nation) to suffer just for political expedience. In a democratic country not all the people believe in the aims and objectives of the government of the day.
It has never been heard anywhere in the whole world, that the unelected person becomes superior to the elected. It could and would make sense if all governors could now be elected directly by the people, but that could be suicidal as the majority could prevail. Take a good look to your neighbor South Africa in how it handles the premiers’ issue. We in the United Democratic Party (UDP) know that this came about because SWAPO had some difficulties turning the clock when the former governor of the Caprivi was voted out of office by his fellow SWAPO members. They could not reverse it and thus were “bitten in their own ground” as the act stipulated otherwise. If it was reversed it could show the world that there is no democracy in Namibia if government broke their laws, which still is the case here.
We know that there are certain individuals who wanted to stand as candidates in the regional council elections, and they are not wanted by SWAPO as they do not have influence and/or control over them, that is why they came up with this action. So, in reality this is done in the name of politics to try and rectify the problem they have in the Caprivi. How on earth can this happen? It is clear here that Caprivians are only used to get SWAPO voted into power and dumped after elections are over. Why follow people who show you white teeth during elections and only to turn into hyenas at the end of election? You are Caprivians and not Namibians and that is what you and all other Caprivians should fight for. Where is the policy and principle of majority rules if this heinous act is allowed? Once more people have been denied their right to choose leaders of their own choice.
This case depicts that Namibia is fast turning into oligarchy "rule by the few" and fast moving away from democracy "rule by the people". Today we hear of governors being appointed by the President instead of being elected by the people. Tomorrow the worst is to come as Namibia will have a government in which the political power is held by a single self appointed ruler. This together with many other problems and issues are the reasons why Caprivians want nothing to do with Namibia, but want their motherland independent.
UDP, Bulela sicaba sa utwa!!!!
UDP Information Secretary
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