Dukwe refugees deported to Botswana

01 Jul 2015 16:40pm
KATIMA MULILO, 01 JUL (NAMPA) – Thirteen Dukwe refugees who arrived in Namibia on a ‘come and see, go and tell’ mission from Botswana on Sunday have been deported with immediate effect.
The mission which was initially to last until 04 July was brought to an abrupt end after the group allegedly started advancing ideas to secede the Zambezi Region from the rest of Namibia, and campaigned for people to join the United Democratic Party (UDP), which is currently banned in Namibia.
In meetings held at the Liselo, Kasheshe and Nampengu villages between Monday and Tuesday, the group, which was made up of 10 men and three women, and certain traditional authorities and community members, allegedly took advantage of the mission to forward their secession and UDP interests.
Zambezi Regional Governor Lawrence Sampofu said at a media briefing here on Wednesday Government decided to cancel the mission with immediate effect, as the country is bound by the Namibian Constitution which disallows secessionism, tribalism, regionalism and other sorts of discrimination.
“We are not going to allow anyone to advocate or mobilise for UDP or cause instability in Namibia. We are for peace, stability and prosperity in the country, and we shall not sit back and allow things which are a threat to our national security,” Sampofu said.
Addressing the group, he said their mobilisation, utterances and activities are not allowed. “Your mission to Namibia was intended to ‘come and see’, not to mobilise and advocate for UDP,” he added.
Sampofu did not allow the group leader, Felix Kakula, to speak and comment on the immediate cancellation of their mission, however hostile group members clapped their hands loudly, indicating that they do not care about the decision.
The group, also out of disrespect, attempted to walk out of the Zambezi regional chambers while Sampofu and his delegation, amongst others made up of regional councillors, Botswana Government officials, civil society organisations, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Namibia and Botswana, were still seated.
They were however called to order after it was once again made clear to them that all Namibians in exile are welcome to return to the country, but they should be aware that the activities of UDP are banned and will not be tolerated.
A convoy of more than 10 vehicles and Namibian Police Force cars escorted a minibus transporting the refugees to the Ngoma-Kasane border post, where they exited the country at 12h00.
The last ‘come and see, go and tell’ mission was held in 2011.
Currently, there are about 900 Namibian refugees whom the Botswana Government have given until 31 December to voluntary return to their home country.