The Botswana government and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) were left in shock this past Thursday when the Namibian government took an unpopular decision to kick out refugees from the Dukwi, Botswana.
Namibia has ordered that the refugees be returned back to the hosting country, Botswana, on accusations that they were peddling politics and dividing the country.
The thirteen refugees from Dukwi who arrived in Zambezi early this week for possible repatriation were ordered to leave Namibia after some of them were engaged in political mobilisation for the United Democratic Party (UDP). The UDP was banned following a government directive on September 1st 2006 banning all the party’s meetings in Namibia.
The UDP is led by exiled political outcast, Mishake Muyongo and seeks to impose a secessionist ideologue on the residents of Zambezi.
The repatriation trip was attended by officials from the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security as well as a delegation from the UNHCR. The Botswana government delegation was led by Augustine Makgonatsotlhe who is the Secretary of Defence, Justice and Security.
Makgonatsotlhe who told this publication that he was still on his way from the said trip from Namibia confirmed that indeed the Namibian government has taken a decision to bring back some Dukwi refugees who were seen to be politicking.
“It is true that they engaged in political utterances and activities and angered their government. It was a go and see trip which we often conduct with our partners from the UNHCR. The trip is meant to assess the environment and other issues to possible repatriation,” he said.
Makgonatsotlhe could not speculate on the future and the reparcusions of the refugees’ actions saying it was still early to say. “We are just ariving and we cannot say anything for now,” he said. It is understood that Zambezi Regional Governor, Lawrence Sampofu decided to cancel a planned meeting with the group saying this was due to a veiled attempt by the refugees to advance their secessionist ideas and activities of the banned political project.
The Namibian government has said that the meeting was cancelled after analising the meetings conducted so far; and the views expressed and information disseminated by the refugees in concert with certain traditional authority representatives and members of the communities.
The Namibian government concluded that this is a veiled attempt by the come-and-see refugees to use this platform to continue advancing their position of secessionism and the UDP party interests.
The government further accused some of the traditional authority representatives of supporting the secessionist agenda and for being receptive to subversive sentiments expressed during the visit.
With the ‘banning’ of the UDP of exiled leader, Mishake Muyongo in 2006, Sampofu cautioned against the resuscitation of the party in Namibia which has consistently advocated for an independent region. In their first meeting with Sampofu since arriving, one of the 13 refugees on a familiarisation visit, Felix Kakula, stated they would only return home if they can come back as members of the UDP. At another meeting at the headquarters of Mafwe, chief George Simasiku Mamili on the same day similar secessionist sentiments were also repeated.
Other meetings followed at Liselo, Kasheshe and Nampengu villages on Tuesday. In these meetings some community members and traditional authority representatives reportedly shared the same sentiments, which angered the government.
The refugees were told to pack their bags and leave immediately and were escorted back to the Ngoma border post on Tuesday. More than 3 000 people fled Namibia to Botswana in 1999 in the wake of the failed attempt to secede the then Caprivi from the rest of the country.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.