News and Information

February 20, 2015

In every story ever told, there must be two sides to it, the good and the bad. It is for one that reads to choose which side best service his or her interest. One can choose to go with the good because it carries no baggage, or flirt with the bad as he or she is prepared to deal with the consequences in the package. Sometimes using politics indecisively is considered mental sloth. But for leaders who have what it takes to be a leader, they guard themselves against other people’s sins. It is said in the bible that, all sinners will not go to heaven but in hell. At the same time it is said that sins follows you wherever you go, and so is past heinous and evil actions. If that is the case, why follow in the footsteps of the devil?

If we all are serious about changing the world, our deeds and actions will follow us and speak volumes. It was only Christ who sacrificed his life to save men. Sin has no color, but a wise person is destined to do the right thing and not allow other people’s sins cloud their judgment when it comes to decisions of national interest. It is also common knowledge that governments come and go, but country’s inhabitants remain for generations. On the other hand, countries big and small disintegrate for purposes of forming and developing efficient and effective governments. We here therefore should confess that, in many countries around the globe, leaders shape and sometimes destroy the harmony nations enjoy.

In Soviet Union for example, its only President Mikhail Gorbachev (from October 01, 1988 – May 25, 1989) was a very powerful leader whose policies cost the collapse of USSR. Although the collapse of the USSR came about from a number of factors, it can be said to have most definitely hastened along by Gorbachev’s policies. Policies like for example, Perestroika (reform of the economy) and the glasnost. Hoarding and reciprocal favors (blat) had been a means of survival in the Soviet Union, thieving to ‘moonlight’ was also common and this cost the regime a lot. The regime’s command-administrative system had become obsolete in the Post-Industrial era and was curtailing economic development.

As Mikhail Gorbachev opened door to allow freedom of thought from the ‘mono-ideological controls’ that existed for decades, allowing pluralist thought and leadership meant a weakening of power for the Communist Party. Again in a regime based on oppression and propaganda, when these are removed and freedom of speech and freedom of the media are introduced, nasty elements about the system in the past are revealed, and when there is 70 years of repression being reported all at once, it is inevitable there will be extreme hostility toward those responsible, the Party in power which in this case, fueled the anger of the nationalities who had been oppressed and triggered a nationalist movement.

In other words, the entire population became dissatisfied with state of affairs and thus voiced their discontent with glasnost, which in essence led to Gorbachev becoming very unpopular. Although Mikhail Gorbachev was not the sole contributor to the collapse of the USSR, as evidence could be traced way before he came to power, Gorbachev’s reforms themselves undermined some of the principle features of socialist rule in the USSR.

Yugoslavia broke up because of varied reasons ranging from the cultural and religious divisions between the ethnic groups making up the nation, to the memories of WWII atrocities committed by all sides, to centrifugal nationalist forces. However, a series of major political events served as the catalyst for exacerbating inherent tensions in the Yugoslav republic and other external factors also had a significant impact.

It also took time for Northern Sudan president to understand the gravity and magnitude of the power of a people in Southern Sudan. But regardless of the efforts he made to stop the separation, with the power of mediation the people of South Sudan became free at last. Western Sahara has for decades now been fighting for independence and hopefully their dream for freedom and independence shall soon be realized.

Another country of interest is Eritrea which according to history was first colonized by Italy. In 1941 during the battle of Keren, the Italian forces were driven out of Eritrea and its administration was entrusted to the British military rule. Britain, however, sought to divide Eritrea along religious lines, giving the coast and highland areas to Ethiopia and the Muslim-inhabited northern and western lowlands to British-ruled Sudan. In 1952 the United Nations (UN) tried to satisfy the demand for self-determination by creating an Eritrean/Ethiopian federation. In 1962 Haile Selassie abolished the federation and imposed imperial rule throughout Eritrea. In January 1974, the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF) handed Haile Selassie's forces a crushing defeat at Asmera, severely affecting the army's morale and exposing the crown's ever-weakening position. Here again it is clear that because of the power of the people, Eritria became free.

In South Africa, apartheid was a period between 1948 and 1994. This was calculated policy to separate black South Africans from white South Africans. The system of segregation extended its wing to South West Africa as the minority white Afrikaners ruled both countries. But of importance here is to bring to light the fact that from ceremonial presidents to executive presidents of South Africa during the period from 1961 through 1984, the National Party presidents from Charles Robberts Swart to Pieter Willem Botha were ruthless with no regard for the majority blacks in South Africa. Pieter Willem himself was regarded as the architecture of apartheid. Nicknamed 'Die Groot Krokodil' as the prime minister of South Africa from 1978 to 1984 and the first executive state president from 1984 to 1989, he was an authoritarian leader who enforced apartheid but in response to pressure, he started to introduce limited reforms.

In 1989 as P.W. Botha suffered numerous strokes, he resigned and Frederik Willem de Klerk formerly a hard-line supporter of apartheid but by the end of the 1980s the candidate of those who regarded themselves as moderates within the National Party took over power as President of South Africa. De Klerk moved faster and farther to reform apartheid than any Afrikaner politician had done before him, although in many instances it seemed that events rather than individuals were forcing the pace and scale of change. De Klerk rescinded the banning orders on the ANC, the PAC, the SACP, and other previously illegal organizations.

As state president, De Klerk freed Nelson Mandela in 1990, lifted the ban on membership in the African National Congress (ANC), and opened the negotiations that led to the first democratic elections in 1994 and because of that, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (1993, shared with Nelson Mandela).It must be noted here that, a true leader puts the people or nation’s interest above that of his own. When the first black President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela was elected to lead the Rainbow Nation, he championed reconciliation in South Africa.

In a year after his election to office, Parliament‘s Justice Portfolio Committee drafted legislation to establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It had the mission of establishing a complete picture of the causes, nature and extent of the gross human rights violations committed in the period between March 01, 1960 and the cut-off date by conducting investigations and holding hearings. We say that, was it not for President Nelson Mandela’s world view and understanding, South Africa could have turned into a river of blood because the majority black population could avenge the deaths of their comrades.

Coming to the crux of the matter, German South West Africa (German Deutsch-Südwestafrika) is a former German colony (1884–1919) that is now the nation of Namibia. During that period, The Caprivi Strip was not part of South West Africa colony. But because of the 1890 German/British treaty a tract of land 280 miles (450 km) long in the extreme northeast of the territory, German South West Africa colony gained access to the Zambezi River. It is also known that the state of affairs was short lived as the British military took over control of the Strip and it was then ruled together with the British Bechuanaland protectorate.

Now, just as in the apartheid South Africa, Namibia for the past two decades has been ruled by authoritarian leaders who believe in colonizing others; leaders who believe in killing others and lacked the capacity to resolve disputes peacefully; and leaders who believe in brute force and imposed issues on people rather than seeking people’s opinion. The people of the Caprivi Strip under their political party, The United Democratic Party (UDP) have in the past and now indicate that they are prepared to sit around a political table to find an amicable solution to the conflict. But for all this while, Namibia has been silent on the matter. We still have faith in humanity and although humanity is a river; if a few drops of the river are dirty, the river does not become dirty.

Caprivi Strip is not Namibia, it has international demarcated boundaries. Changing its name to Zambezi never got blessings from the native people and thus should be null and void. Freedom is about voting rights; it is about free expression and movements; it is about deciding and choosing the political party that has people’s interests at heart; it is not about banning their only strong political party for political expedience; it is not about intimidating and harassing voters, tearing UDP T. shirts; it is about following the rule of law.

Caprivians have done nothing to deserve mistreatments from the government of Namibia where they don’t belong. Relocating Ovambos into the Caprivi Strip with intent of destroying their tradition and culture is but barbaric. Imprisoning Caprivians indefinitely is but crime to humanity. It is time the Namibian authority in the executive to redress the political problem in the Caprivi Strip. You should realize that ignoring it shall never make it go away. It is our birth right to be free and thus struggle shall continue. Lesson to be gleaned out of this is that, whatever repression, strategies or party ideologies one can put a nation through; know that there is always going to be an end to it. At the end of it all, we don’t think that someone want to go into history books tied to that kind of misnomer.

Wise nations in trying to curb escalations of conflicts always seek involvement of the United Nations because they have the machinery to resolve conflicts. Read the leaves by looking at the political dynamics in Southern Africa. Sometimes a window of opportunity comes but once in a long, long time. This is the time for someone strong and a decisive leader to step up to the plate, rise to the occasion and put a stop to oppression and colonialism in the Caprivi Strip.

UDP Bulela, sicaba sa utwa!

Chrispin Mutoiwa
UDP Secretary for Information.

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

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