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The Application of Laws to the Eastern Caprivi Zipfel Act, 1999 Appealing for a UN led referendum
July 27, 2011
The Application of Laws to the Eastern Caprivi Zipfel Act, 1999
Appealing for a UN led referendum

By Manja Tsamati

Writing from Caprivi, I have the right to membership and/or association with any political organization of my choice. Not to forget my right to freedom of speech and expression. I am entitled to my thoughts and opinion.

July 2011 is a historic month for the South Sudanese. Yes, an African man can be colonized by fellow African. It was not about differing religions or skin color but about the attitude, the prejudice, and differing political history. Former colonizers made a lot of political mistakes in Africa. They submitted minority and/or weak states to stronger states out of prejudice. This was not always done on the consent of the minorities but of the majority or on their own discretion. These mistakes have evolved into political conflicts relating to secession in contemporary Africa. South Sudan government is expected to make a positive difference in African politics on the subject of secession. Every African wants to live in a better African state without conflicts, oppression and poverty. In the presence of oppression, people shall resist.

22 July 2011 recorded a 12th year since the enactment of act No. 10 of 1999 in Namibia. We must remember this act because of its significance in dictating our political life today. This day must be spent to acknowledge the political history of Caprivi; remind the Namibian government of the day they made a political mistake that they live to correct, and to appeal for correction based on the people�s consent. We must also learn and share with others that Eastern Caprivi Zipfel (ECZ) was without an established political government after the South African colonial government until the coup d��tat on 22 July 1999 by the Namibian government (parliament).

Act No. 10, 1999 called the APPLICATION OF LAWS TO THE EASTERN CAPRIVI ZIPFEL ACT, was enacted �to provide for the application of certain laws to the Eastern Caprivi Zipfel, the operation of which was excluded by virtue of the provision of certain pre-independent laws.� It was signed by the President, Sam Nuyoma on 24 June 1999. It states that �Section 38(5) of the South-West Africa Constitution Act, 1968 (Act No.39 of 1968) provided that no Act of the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa and no Ordinance of the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of South-West Africa passed on or after the first day of November 1951 would apply in that part of the said Territory that was demarcated and known as the Eastern Caprivi Zipfel, unless it was expressly declared so to apply;�

Simply put, before 24 July 1999, laws or the supreme law (constitution) of the Republic of Namibia never applied to the Eastern Caprivi Zipfel by virtue of the South-West Africa Constitution Act, 1968. Friends and foes, doesn�t extension of laws to another territory require a referendum in a political sense?

Friends and foes, we must remind ourselves that those who formed Caprivi African National Union (CANU) in 1963 had an aim, a vision or a dream. God knows their aim very well than us. I doubt if they had at any point in history declared giving up their vision and dream, even in an umbrella of SWAPO. What history can account is only a political-party association. Call it an alliance and no one will disagree with you. CANU was a national political organization like African National Congress (ANC), Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), etc. If only our elders jealously defended the aims and ideals of this national organization, tribalism would never be an issue today in Caprivi or be a scapegoat for no development, or a ticket to curse (or discriminate) our own brothers and sisters. However, I take this opportunity to thank those noble countrymen and women who gathered their hearts and minds to form and lead CANU.

My dearest readers, we must all learn and agree here that the relationship of SWAPO and CANU was unholy. Let us also learn and agree here that the relationship of Caprivi and Namibia is politically and socially unholy. You would all agree with me that in both the former and later relationship, one has blood of the other on her hands. We are all aware that SWAPO allegedly discriminated and killed most of CANU leaders and followers. We can note the unholy killing of Greenwel Matongo for example. In post Namibia independence, the brutal killing of late Shadrick Chainda and Tungulu whose throats were slit by late Captain Henry Mwilima of Namibian security forces must be noted in this era. Yes, your best friend today can be your worst enemy tomorrow. Young and old, we must all resolve to work together to revise our political past, present and configure our political future.

Of course, maybe CANU-SWAPO merger was not completely supported and justified by the entire CANU membership and leadership. Maybe we must call it a mistake. Won�t you agree with me that extending the laws of South West Africa-Namibia to the eastern Caprivi by act of parliament in July 1999 was as well NOT voted for or supported and justified by the majority of Caprivi citizens? Sure you will agree. Equally, we must consider this a mistake on the part of the Namibian government. It is possible to correct past mistakes. The force and time of correction is in our hands. Act No. 10, 1999 called the APPLICATION OF LAWS TO THE EASTERN CAPRIVI ZIPFEL ACT 1999 deserves serious debate. The nature of the Act and the political situation in Caprivi then demanded nothing less than a referendum. Well, the situation is still the same.

Referendum is a UN recognized and recommended peaceful tool in cases where some people disagree with a political law or public policy. It can work very well in the Caprivi secession bid, in the reduction of the size of Caprivi from its far west, and the registration of communal land under the communal land act. Unfortunately, calls for referendum(s) on these issues fall on deaf ears, unless we make our call more frequent and louder. The deaf prefer to be deafer and talk about persons than issues.

SWAPO leaders must stop (for example) talking about the Pope than principles of the Roman Catholic and Christianity. They always do this to deliberately manipulate journalists and deviate from issues in question. Therefore, journalists are advised to be vigilant, assertive and consistent in following up questions than allowing to be manipulated by leaders who possibly have right answers but choose to give wrong answers. In a life of every honest political leader there must be an honest journalist. The negative can also be true. It is a good duty of media practitioners not to let leaders dodge questions in daylight. Journalists are watchdogs of responsibility and accountability.

Those who speak in the authority of the Republic of Namibia or the ruling party must genuinely address real issues. Mr. Muyongo did not arrest and torture anyone, neither prosecute anyone nor preside a treason trial as a JUDGE. Hence, the Minister of Justice simply deviated when she said High Treason Suspects in prisons are victims of Mr. Muyongo. If they are victims as she claims, then she must release them because she implies that she is prosecuting victims rather than criminals, or is it that the criminal is the one who arrested his victims and is prosecuting them? Or is it that her ministry will continue to victimize our family members until Mr. Muyongo has given up Caprivi political quest? Come on.

In the same barrel, those who appear to have won a tender to misinform our young brothers and sisters and the world at large about Mr. Muyongo and Caprivians, must stop their project. If thousands of Caprivians were at any point killed in 1999, it is ground breaking. If it is true, we have no choice but to wonder why the Namibian government hasn�t officially revealed such information to the public 12 years down the line! Clearly, it is a lie. I wonder where people absorb the audacity to contemplate and write lies! I also wonder where the ethics in a PhD discipline hide when planning and writing lies to the public! The spiritual saying that the Devil is a liar can mean the liar is a Devil.

One NANSO activist suggested blocking the UDP website in 2009. A leader he is in NANSO and at UNAM�s Student Representative Council (SRC) in this Cyber space era, he must understand that a website does not visit anyone but visited. Why would he then require a technician or the ICT Minister for him not to peep on by blocking it? As a student, he ought to know that some scholars and political analysts would need to use the UDP website in their researches and analysis. If he subscribed for newsletters and does not need them now, he can simply unsubscribe. He also suggested among others that those that are on trial in connection with 2nd August 1999 should show repentance and remorse for their suspected unpatriotic actions by conspiring to threaten the territorial integrity of our mother land. Justice is not about repentance or remorse, if you accuse a person; prove him wrong beyond reasonable doubts in a competent court of law.

He must know that the issue of Caprivi secession is in the space like a website, and everyone anywhere can have access to it. I wonder how he learned about the said website! The issue is not a website or the owner/administrator but a political belief and understanding. Let us accommodate this issue in our highest levels of reasoning, and in our micro or macro debates as young people of the blue, green, white and black Caprivi Strip, and as leaders of today and tomorrow.

African and international governments, politicians, religious leaders, the international human rights community and the general public must understand that Mr. Muyongo and his followership are just human beings who are persecuted for soberly expressing their political understanding and belief. We need to question why those who disagree with Muyongo doctrine hesitate to argue through a referendum! Namibia does not have to impose herself on people by military power, rather she must argue righteously for what she think, and then ask the people concerned. I personally believe that parties which politically disagree must find or be provided with, a peaceful platform to settle their differences and reach a consensus or compromise. Young or old, black or white, right or wrong, everyone deserves to be listened to with due respect. For or against secessionism, we need a referendum.

If secession can be allowed elsewhere in North Africa, why not in Southern Africa! If the United Nations and the African Union can offer audience and help to South Sudanesse, it is grateful to do the same for the people of Caprivi. We are in a century where sacrifices of blood are gone with past years. We are in an era to face fire or storm with our hearts and minds, not with objects such as minerals or guns. We are no longer serving a God of sacrifices but a God of grace. Those who are in a position to help in one way or another must not expect a sacrifice of blood to act.

The youth in Caprivi must take it upon themselves to honestly deliberate alleged atrocities (such as torture, execution and enforced disappearances) which have been committed against Caprivi African National Union (CANU) followers during the Namibian liberation struggle, and extensively debate authenticity of Act No. 10, 1999 called the APPLICATION OF LAWS TO THE EASTERN CAPRIVI ZIPFEL ACT, 1999. Living in ignorance and hypocritical silence is self-destructive. We have been observant of Caprivi politics for a while. We can conclude that we have nothing do with SWAPO. We cannot doubt but believe our political consciousness. We know very well that the Caprivi high treason trial of our grandfathers, fathers, brothers and cousins by SWAPO � led Government has a number of occupational, financial and political beneficiaries. These are individuals who would not want to see the trial closed, neither to see our family members free. We remain sure that the Almighty God is in control.

Let us shape or sharpen ourselves now than later. Someone said: In youth we learn, in age we understand. We are brothers and sisters, cousins, etc. Let us come and reason together.

Last Saturday, 16 July the secretary of UDP in Caprivi was given an opportunity to bid farewell to his comrade late Mr. Chrispin Matongo, but some elders protested. They protested the very moment he said �I am speaking in my capacity as the secretary of the United Democratic Party.� The secretary was so conscious, and emotionally stable. The crowd was so anxious to hear from him. I anticipated he was not going to shoot out verbal attacks but convey a message of praise and acknowledgement to his late leader from a UDP perspective. In my view, it was an opportunity for him to also publicly appeal for a peaceful solution from government of Namibia on Caprivi political dispute through the regional Governor who was present. My experience dictates that no-one in Caprivi from the east to the west is not affected by Caprivi-Namibia political tug of war. Who then would not want to listen to political suggestions or alternatives thought to help us out of the political problem?

The biography of the late was much of a SWAPO perspective and not of UDP. No one protested because everyone knows that the late was a SWAPO superman. However, I assume that the UDP secretary intended to speak for UDP because the late was a UDP super hero. Those protesters must have known and be ready to be addressed by UDP. They must have recognized that they were not in a SWAPO crowd but a UDP crowd. Scholars and the youth in general must realize that even the history of Namibia was/is written selectively. We need to dig out our own history, write it, oil and keep it. Apart from that, we must demand a society where everyone has the right to speak his mind without biased limitations which do not apply to others. If there are limitations, then let them apply to everyone.

I conclude by recommending that UDP as a replica of CANU must consider lobbying the United Nations to investigate the alleged �atrocities (such as torture, execution and enforced disappearances) which have been committed against Caprivi African National Union (CANU) followers during the Namibian liberation struggle� and UDP followers from 1998 to date. Most importantly the Government of the republic of Namibia should consider a UN organized and supervised referendum to settle the Caprivi political dispute. Lastly, the youth must be proactive in calling for a vote on this old problem. Let us beat the drums louder. We cannot afford to transfer this problem to the next generation.

Source: Caprivi Strip

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