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Amnesty and repatriation: Submission to the weakness of the Flesh
November 15, 2011
Proud Caprivian

A celebrated African-American civil rights activist, Martin Luther King once observed in his life time that “Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.”

I have read, and so I suspect that some people, who might be the misguided men are advocating for amnesty over the Caprivi Strip political stalemate, unless they stopped over the last weekend. I have heard and seen that some people in Botswana have opted for repatriation, though mainly because of the enemy’s influence while some because of family issues. I will not argue much on repatriation because I choose to respect their right to come back home.

My argument against amnesty will be within the following two simple definitions of amnesty. Amnesty is an official order by government that allows prisoners to be free, if already convicted. It is also a period of time when you can admit to doing something illegal without being punished, if not yet convicted. Releasing our brothers and parents from prison and the coming back of all Caprivi exiles is not necessarily bad, but conditions attached to amnesty and its effect on finding a lasting solution over the Caprivi Strip political dispute is what I find unacceptable. I would only bless it if it is unconditional.

My perception tends to associate political amnesty with what I may call a political rehabilitation. This, at my own level of intelligence would mean that those in exile, those in prison, and those of us who are rooming freely in Caprivi while possessed with the secession spirit are politically mad, meaning something is wrong with their consciousness. However, I do not see anything wrong with them. They are perfectly well, mentally and spiritually. What they are calling for is reasonable and there is no need to compromise. They have done no single mistake in any political sense. What they did or they are doing is what SWAPO or ANC did against colonial South African apartheid regime. SWAPO leaders were also tortured and detained, charged with treason; and they too used violence in search for freedom. It was long and bitter for most of them. Why then should we sell our political freedom for the flesh?

Namibia has statutes such as the much talked about policy of national reconciliation, a much praised constitution, vision 2030 which forecast a peaceful and stable Namibia, and also several international and regional protocols on peace, security and justice within which it can find room to solve the political issue of Caprivi Strip. But it chooses to ignore any possible positive means of solving the issue. God knows why, but we only need to understand one thing here, that instability in Caprivi Strip is stability in Namibia. However, our children need to live in a well established political system and a stable social-political life. Hence our aim must be the highest, which is a permanent political solution to this stalemate and not submission.

We must define the case of those in prison as purely political, outright political torture. We are going to make a very big mistake should we bow to the weakness of the flesh, which is the physical pain and suffering. If we do, the political case will remain unresolved and is sure to spring at any stage in future, again and again. The space and time to solve this long overdue political problem is here and now, but not through amnesty. It will be a mockery to democracy, freedom and justice should we opt to handle this issue as a criminal other than a political case. It is not an issue of physical freedom (from prison or exile) but of political freedom, which include the right to self-determination, a new government of Caprivi Strip which will deal with our development and social issues in our own way, for our own good. Let us not deal with symptoms here but rather we deal with the pathogen itself. The struggle for democracy and freedom is a universal command. Everywhere in the world people are fighting for freedom and we cannot neglect our right and responsibility to fight injustice and all sorts of political evils which are eating out our society and identity.

Just a question, to what extent can we trust Namibian authorities on amnesty when appointed assassins are running around the world hunting down our leaders, families and friends? How long will this last? Most importantly, for how long are we going to be prey to the government of Namibia! Our time has come to console each other and unite against a common enemy despite personal differences. It is clear and true that we are dealing with an enemy who deceitfully appear silent and calm yet hard at work to disintegrate and destroy our society. I can assure you that their patience is running out and we can see their true colors. Why can’t we show them our true color and identity instead of dreaming of amnesty?

Perhaps those calling or say suggesting amnesty should tell us what logic is there when Government of Namibia is still hunting down our leaders, parents and brothers today while it is keeping many of our beloved family members in prison for twelve years already? As if not about eighteen of the men they detained have mysteriously died while in detention, Namibia is still hunting down our brothers. Unbelievably, the same government is calling our people in Botswana to come back home, promising them job opportunities and safety! What job opportunities will Namibia offer them if the unemployment rate is 51.2%? What safety if it has dispatched troops and their armored vehicles to Caprivi Strip to instill fear, and to create false suspicions of the presence of Caprivi Liberation Army fighters, a pretext to arrest us (especially repatriates from Dukwi) and to purposefully prolong the detention of our relatives (for security reasons)?

On the issue of those in prison, it is a universal judicial norm that every person shall be innocent until proven guilty. We will be judging the suspects if we expect them to admit illegal acts without a free and fair trial under amnesty. Expecting our parents and brothers to admit wrong doing (or show remorse) is the evil doctrine behind brutal torture that the Namibian authorities commanded upon our people. It is a doctrine that is playing a major role in the prolonged detention of our people for we have heard pronouncements from some Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) leaders which implies that treason suspects should show remorse which appears to be a condition for justice in this case. Humbly I suggest that amnesty and its conspirators must get out of the way.

Think about this, what is that punishment which they will not endure (if they admit) when they have been tortured and detained this long already? Are they not already punished? After all, if they committed any illegal acts, they committed them in a disputed territory. Meaning, the trial will only be fair and legitimate if Government of Namibia settle the political (territorial) dispute first. For argument sake, where is the sanity of a man who assaults a Youngman he claims to be his biological son because of rebellious behaviors, yet the Youngman dispute the claim with reasons, saying that the man is not his father, and this man fails to prove to be the rightful biological father of the Youngman in any way(s)? I do not have to be a genius to suggest that it is only wise and logical to settle the parenthood dispute first then follows the rebellious behavior issue if he proves to the Youngman and observers that he is the rightful biological father.

Let us take note of the fact that not every high treason suspect has committed these alleged so called offences (in the disputed territory). Some of them their hands are as white as snow. What will these possibly innocent confess under amnesty? And will GRN believe their innocence? Believe me; justice is never to be begged. Even in the earliest history when Africans were more uncivilized justice was fought for or demanded. If you beg justice, it will be borrowed to you. Demand it and when you get it, it will forever be yours.

Calling for amnesty now is to undermine and compromise the supreme idea of liberating Caprivi Strip and its people from occupation and oppression by Namibia. Be reminded that many people have died and many are suffering because of this supreme cause, a price worthwhile. After all, no single real issue may be resolved by amnesty, it is only an actual act of submission to the weakness of the flesh.

Manja Manja

Concerned Proud Caprivian

Source: United Democratic Party (UDP)

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