News and Information

May 6, 2013

It is human nature to regard justice as the advantage of the stronger. In other words, those in positions of power simply use their mighty to decree what shall be right. For one thing, if the SWAPO party mistakenly legislates to its own advantage, justice will require the disadvantaged to perform the contradictory feat of doing what they decree.

In the United Democratic Party (UDP), we believe that the best ruler must always be someone who knows how to rule and understands ruling as a craft. But since crafts of any sort invariably aim to produce some external goal, good practitioners of each craft always act for the sake of that goal and never in their own interest alone. Now, like good shepherds, good rulers must try to do what is best for those who have been entrusted to them, rather than seeking the rulers own welfare.

SWAPO of Namibia has been in power since independence in 1990 but because they were forced into a democratic environment or system, it is very difficult for them to abandon their old tricks. Democracy by definition means the government of the people by the people for the people. Simply put, it means that all the people should be able to have their say in one way or another in everything that affects their lives.

Let me start by saying that SWAPO was given power by the United Nation in an unscrupulous way. Reason attached to that was, it was becoming unaffordable for the United Nations to feed them in exile. To qualify this statement, one should ask himself question as to why were the lights put off in Ovamboland and many other places in the then South West Africa during the 1989 Presidential and general elections. Second to that is; why were the numbers of those who voted exceeding those of the registered voters? The answer is simple, this was the job and arrangement by the then UN Special Representative, Martti Ahtisaari.

After Namibia’s independence SWAPO tested the waters by running elections in all thirteen regions as they call them. But even with their own electoral commission, the terrain was not conducive to their liking. It was a nightmare as they could lose in nearly the majority of the regions except in Ovamboland. After realizing this problem, they then amended the constitution by abolishing the clause that allowed governors to be elected by the people and replaced it with what suited their situation and that is; the President has to nominate governors. Is that democracy?

In this scenario where the President nominates a chairperson who then becomes governor, SWAPO took away citizens’ rights to freedom of choice. These governors because they are not the people’s choice do not represent the people and thus are not accountable to the people, but to the President who nominated them. Question is; why did SWAPO create that situation? They simply lacked political support especially in the Caprivi Strip. What happened to democracy that Namibia purports to have?

In Namibia just as in Zimbabwe, it has become very difficult for any other political party to win election and all opposition parties can attest to this assertion that SWAPO manipulates everything. Put differently, being a referee and a player at the same time gives you power to control everything in a game. In other words, it is close to impossible for the other team to score even one goal because once they advance the offside whistle will be blown signaling a fault. Whereas whatever fault there be to the referee’s team will be directed towards the other team’s goal post to achieve maximum points and benefits.

This brings me to the question of the rule of law. It is said that the judiciary system in Namibia is independent from the executive but the opposite is true in that the President controls everyone and everything. If he can appoint the judges with no consultation with board that should first scrutinize them and thereafter make recommendation to the President, then the message is loud and clear. Judges in both the High and Supreme Courts are never independent but hold their allegiance to the President, who finally has the power to sway Court decisions or rulings. The case in point was the amalgam of political parties headed by RDP to contend the elections that was fraudulent and full of rigging. The case went cold and up to date nothing has come out.

Coming to the crux of the matter, SWAPO government arrested, tortured, and detained Caprivians since August 1999 to date. Many have lost their lives while in custody. The Namibian constitution and the international law states that one is not guilty until he or she is proven guilty by a competent court of law. How on earth can people be incarcerated for fourteen years without proper and/or fair trial? It is to my understanding that due process rights should be protected by every constitution, statutes, regulations, contracts, and judicial interpretations. Is there due process in Namibia?

If Namibia upholds the rule of law where due process should be realized, then a hearing was required in the case of Caprivians in their prisons. Other questions following the first are: at what point is the hearing required? What kind of hearing? What essential elements of hearing were supposed to be visited? Answering all these questions could have paved way for courts to give ruling to the marathon case of the Caprivi.

By almost any standard, the concept that government should not take any action that seriously injure individual or group of people without providing at least some of the elements of due process of law is at the heart of the Anglo American definition of the rule of law. So Namibia has the clause that includes a protection against the deprivation of life, liberty, and property with due process of law.

On the question of land, Nujoma and I am still alive, and if he has something to say about the Caprivi Strip, why not organizing a meeting where international observers will mediate our deliberations to finding a logical and lasting solution to the case. What is he afraid off?
Being the land of contrasts, the Caprivi Strip has a history that is very different from Namibia. Its history and culture is more close to that of the Lozis, Batswana, and Basutho. Those who can ruminate well can attest to the fact that all the three people and nations played a role in the history and culture of the Caprian people and not Namibians. During the colonial era, Germany only wanted the Caprivi Strip to have access to the Zambezi but when their plan to sail to the Far East could not be realized given the Victoria Falls, they withdrew from that territory.

It is also a known fact that the Caprivi Strip is a territory whose boundaries like the rest of Africa were demarcated during the scramble of Africa. It must be clear that, history has it that Article 111(2) of the Anglo German Agreement of 1890, paragraph 1, proves that the Caprivi Zipfel boundary follows the 21° E to the point of intersection the 18° S, and runs eastward along the parallel until it reaches the Chobe/Linyanti River. Furthermore the Germany Portuguese Declaration of 30 December 1886 proves that the Caprivi Zipfel boundary from Andara which is the most South most point on the northern boundary is located about 18° 1’ 26” S. Therefore the line described by Artcle 111(2) cuts the territory of Angola and Namibia respectively in the neighborhood of Andara. Also, the German Foreign office, in a note from Schoen of 30 April 1910, communicated to the British government declared the boundary between the 21st meridian and the Chobe to be formed by a parallel of latitude lying twenty (20) English miles from the northern boundary of Namibia, from Andara to Katima Mulilo Rapids.

That being said, it must be understood that the Caprivi Strip is unique in that while the rest of the regions as they call them belongs to Namibia, the Caprivi Strip is not, as the laws of South Africa and South West Africa can bear testimony to 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 then 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 Caprivi Zipfel, unless it was expressly declared so to apply.

Therefore, the entire laws specific to South West Africa and subsequently Namibia were not applicable to Caprivi Strip. The Application of Laws to the Eastern Caprivi Zipfel Act 1999 (Act 10 of 1999), extending the laws of Namibia to Caprivi Strip was promulgated only on June 24, 1999. That Act of the Namibian Parliament is a non-starter because it does not carry the consent and aspirations of the Caprivian population. The fact that Caprivians were not asked whether or not they want to be part of Namibia makes it null and void.

It is time the international community engage and question Namibia’s undemocratic practices. The saying that you can push a donkey to the water but you cannot force it to drink should send loud message to SWAPO. It cannot impose or order people from the Caprivi to become Namibians through the barrel of a gun. They should use constitutional means that are peaceful and democratic enough to govern people. Just as Geingob rightly mentioned that; if you oppress, suppress or even deprive people the right to air their views. One way or another, they will find a means or conduit through which they will bring out their anguish.

Forward Ever, Backward Never!!!!

Mishake Muyongo
United Demoratic Party of the CapriviZipfel.

Source: United Democratic Party (U.D.P.)

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