Botswana sends Cabinet team to border areas

Clifton Movirongo

A Permanent Secretary from the Republic of Botswana, Andrew Sesinyi, revealed on Monday that Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi will dispatch a high level Cabinet Team to the border areas between Namibia and Botswana on Tuesday 17 November.

The team according to Sesinyi will keep the Botswana communities in the areas abreast of the recent developments following the fatal shooting of the four unarmed Namibian fishermen that took place along the Chobe River near Kasane on 5 November.

Sesinyi said the ministerial mission is to further enhance the spirit of good neighbourliness nurtured by the “excellent bilateral relations subsisting between Namibia and Botswana.”

The three-member delegation comprises the Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation, Lemogang Kwape, who will be leading the team, the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security Kagiso Mmusi, and the assistant Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology Machana Shamukuni who is also the MP for Chobe.

“The ministerial delegation will hold Kgotla meetings and engage in related meetings with the communities around Kasane, Kazungula, Parakarungu and other border villages in order to take into cognizance the concerns of the communities,” Sesinyi said.

He added that emphasis will be placed on assuring the communities that the border incident is being resolved amicably, and that for their part, the communities are encouraged to remain calm in tandem with the peaceful resolution of the issue.

“The communities will also be reminded of Botswana’s commitment to the rule of law, and that no one should be tempted to take law into their own hands.”

Press Secretary to the President of Botswana, Batlhalefi Leagajang, said the two leaders of Namibia and Botswana are eagerly working hard to resolve the issue “speedily, sensitively and peacefully in line with long standing and excellent relations” that exist between the two countries.

He further said President Hage Geingob expressed regret for the events that took place on Saturday at the Ngoma border post between Namibia and Botswana where a crowd of irate Namibians waited for the bodies of the four men who were fatally shot by the Botswana Defence Forces (BDFs) anti-poaching unit.

According to press secretary of the president of Botswana, President Masisi noted President Geingob’s expression of regret for the unfortunate stoning and injury caused to drivers and damage to trucks at the Ngoma border as well as the burning of the Botswana flag during some demonstrations on Friday.

“President Masisi further expressed Botswana’s commitment to ensuring cooperation with her neighbours in addressing all matters that may arise, through dialogue and active engagement. This approach is consistent with Botswana’s entrenched value of consultation and objective engagement,” Leagajang said.

The three Namibian brothers and their Zambian cousin who lost their lives along the border of the Zambezi region were finally laid to rest on Tuesday 17 November. The deceased, Sinvula Munyeme, the cousin, and Wamunyima, Martin and Tommy Nchindo, who also lost their mother were buried at Impalila Island. The deceased citizens are survived by 15 children.

On Tuesday 17 November President Geingob said in a message to the Nchindo family that “considering the circumstances under which these children lost their fathers, I have instructed the Minister of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, to register those who qualify for the Orphans and Vulnerable Children’s welfare grant with immediate effect”.

“I also call upon all the residents of the Zambezi Region and the entire Namibia to join me in extending our sincere and heartfelt sympathy to the Nchindo Family for the loss of their loved ones, and in particular the loss of their beloved mother,” President Geingob expressed.

“I wish to inform you that we shall not rest until we reach a harmonious solution with the Botswana Government. The lives of all Namibians matter and the innocent killings of our people shall not be tolerated. Premised on Article 96 of the Namibian Constitution which deals with our Foreign Relations, we are committed to continue maintaining and strengthening peaceful and mutually beneficial relations with all our neighbours including Botswana.”

Since independence nearly 37 Namibian lives were lost at the hands of BDFs under Botswana’s “shoot to kill” policy. All the killings occurred along the border between Namibia and Botswana.

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