Namibia: Ndf Deployed in Wrong Places - Sampofu

THE Namibian Defence Force (NDF) troops deployed to guard the border between Namibia and Botswana are set up in the wrong places.

This is according to Zambezi governor Lawrence Sampofu.

NDF troops were deployed at the border in December last year after an incident in which the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) killed three brothers and their cousin in the Chobe River on 5 November.

The governor on Tuesday in his state of the region address said the troops are currently stationed at the Kasika, Ngoma, Kapani, Mbilajwe and Mbambazi areas.

"They were supposed to be deployed at areas [indicated] by the traditional authorities, but due to wetlands during the rainy season, which could not be navigated by their heavy trucks, they went to deploy in areas not identified by the traditional leaders," Sampofu said.

Residents living along the Chobe, Linyanti and Kwandu rivers "are living under constant threats, harassment, fear, intimidation and killings, and such activities are condemned and are not acceptable," he said.

Sampofu said 37 Namibians have lost their lives since independence along the border.

"This remains a serious challenge with our neighbour Botswana," he said.

Meanwhile, deputy prime minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah is expected to host a series of meetings with Botswana's minister of international affairs, Lemogang Kwape, at Kasane and Katima Mulilo from tomorrow until Saturday.

The two will also hold consultative meetings with representatives of the Zambezi region's traditional authorities, the governor and regional councillors.

The meetings are said to address the communities at the border areas where last year's fatal shootings took place.

It is expected that the joint investigation report on the incident will feature high on the agenda.

This report has not been made public yet.

President Hage Geingob, when he visited the family of the shooting victims, the Nchindo brothers, at Impalila in April, promised that the government would consider granting the family's request to view the contents of the report.

Family spokesperson Owen Simvula confirmed that the family is still waiting for State House to provide them with a date on which they can view the report.

"Covid has made it difficult for us to meet. But we are hopeful it will happen very soon," Simvula said.

The Namibian Lives Matter movement, which has been at the forefront of demanding the nullification of the 2018 Border Treaty, has not been invited to the meetings.

The treaty is a bone of contention between the Namibian government and the residents of the Zambezi region.

The movement's national leader, Simvula Mudabeti, has accused the government of siding with Botswana against Namibians.

He has called on the government to be open and transparent and to acknowledge the relevance of public opinion in discussions that affect livelihoods.

"We submit that participatory democracy is not mere voting, but more so, it is concerned with ensuring that as citizens we are afforded an opportunity to directly participate, or be involved in the decisions that affect our lives. In this instance the border hostilities affect all of us," Mudabeti says.

The movement plans hosting demonstrations at the Ngoma border post, as well as at the office of the Zambezi Regional Council, where they will hand over a petition.

"We are asking all those who have lost relatives at the hands of the BDF to please come forward and register their names. We want to give the names to the visiting minister on Saturday," Mudabeti says.

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