Namibia: Police Stop UDP Demonstration

THE police in the Zambezi region yesterday stopped a planned demonstration by members of the United Democratic Party.

The members of the United Democratic Party (UDP) are part of a group that unsuccessfully attempted to secede Zambezi (formerly Caprivi) region from Namibia on 2 August 1999.

Exiled Mishake Muyongo formed the party in 1985 as a successor to the Caprivi African National Union. Before 1985, the UDP was affiliated to the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA) group of parties.

In 1998, the UDP openly voiced support for the secession of the then Caprivi resulting in Muyongo and other leaders fleeing the country.

The party was, however, banned in 2006.

Zambezi regional police commissioner Karel Theron, during a media briefing yesterday, noted that the UDP members were trying to disturb the peace and stability in the country and the police will not allow that.

"As the police head in the region, I will not allow people to demonstrate over things which were made clear by president Hage Geingob. Zambezi region is a part of Namibia and there is nothing else to discuss. Therefore, we will not allow them to demonstrate today or tomorrow because there is no Caprivi strip, there's only Namibia." he said.

However, a rather calm UDP chairperson Bothman Ntesa, who also spoke to the media yesterday noted that they, do not understand how the demonstration is considered illegal because they followed the right procedures to have a peaceful demonstration. He said despite this, they did not get any response from the police.

"So today, [when] we decided to demonstrate, they are telling us it is illegal. We want to hold our demonstration because we are seeking the attention of the Namibian government and that of any other non-governmental organisation which can help us in our plight of getting our independence.

"We want people to hear our cry because since we fled to Botswana in 1998 we have written several letters requesting the government of Namibia to have a peaceful dialogue with us but that is not happening. On top of that, we were deported against our will by the government of Botswana. We want a platform where we can air our concerns and get a solution for this issue," he said.

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