Windhoek — Police Inspector-General Sebastian Ndeitunga has sent a stern warning to former Dukwe refugees, saying that the law will be enforced on those trying to destabilise the security of the country.
Ndeitunga's warning follows a failed demonstration by Mishake Muyongo-led United Democratic Party (UDP) supporters who last week clashed with the Namibian police in Katima Mulilo after they attempted to hold a 'peaceful demonstration.' UDP is currently banned in Namibia for advocating for the secession of the former Caprivi region from Namibia.
Many of the people that participated in the demonstration that had to be halted by the Namibian police are Namibians who were recently voluntarily repatriated from the Dukwe refugee camp in Botswana where they have been sheltered for over 20 years.
"These people should not think that we have forgotten (about the secessionist uprising), there are families who are still mourning the loss of loved ones who died during secessionist attacks in Katima Mulilo on 2nd of August 1999," Ndeitunga said.
"The issue of Caprivi is a closed case, as an internal law agency, we will not tolerate people who are here to provoke peace, we will not allow anyone to bring up cases that was dealt with in a court of law, we will not look at them as Christmas trees," Ndeitunga added.
"We don't have a problem with people expressing their feelings or ideas freely but this particular demonstration we will not allow, these people are provoking peace, we have people in prisons because they committed high treason and we cannot allow people outside to demonstrate about the same issue," he said.
The seemingly pro-secessionist group on Monday last week attempted to march to the office of the Zambezi regional governor, Lawrence Sampofu, to hand over a petition listing their demands on government.
The group and their sympathisers, particularly members of the Caprivi Concerned Group (CCG), under the umbrella of the outlawed UDP, gathered at the Katima Mulilo open market in an attempt to march to the governor's office.
The demonstrators' plans were quashed when heavily armed members of the Namibian police intercepted them and ordered them to disperse.
According to UDP chairperson Bothman Ntesa, they approached the station commander's office to give their notice for the planned demonstration, but they were reportedly cold-shouldered.
"They are claiming that we did not follow the correct procedures of getting the response, of which we did, because I have the knowledge of us taking the date notice to the regional office," said Ntesa.
He added that despite doing all they were told to do, they were not given feedback. Ntesa said they will regroup and look for a way forward.
"We will follow the correct procedures. We have not stopped, we are still following the correct procedures."
The group's petition said the demonstration on Monday is a reaffirmation of the position of the UDP members that "Caprivi Strip is legally not part of Namibia and that the majority of Caprivians want Caprivi to be free and independent as they have the right to self-determination."
Nampa also quoted Ntesa as saying: "We want the world to hear our cry because since we went to Botswana in 1998, we have been communicating to the Namibian government to resolve the Caprivi political dispute peacefully through a dialogue and referendum, but the Namibian government hasn't allowed us to do that up to date."