Secessionists Be Warned

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK The Namibian government has issued a stern warning to those calling for the secession of the Caprivi Region from the rest of the country. Giving the government’s stance regarding the secessionist activities towards reviving the United Democratic Party in the Caprivi region, deputy minister of information and broadcasting, Raphael Dinyando, last Friday at a press briefing strongly urged those intending to violate the territorial integrity and unitary character of the country to desist from such activities or face the wrath of the law. Dinyando seriously warned that any individual or group found conducting activities aimed at undermining the constitutional order would have to dance to the tune of the law enforcement agencies. He added that the government has in recent months observed that certain individuals have been involved in “re-awakening” the said party, which is believed to be advocating for the secession of the Caprivi region from the rest of the country. According to Dinyando, Article 17 of the Namibian constitution guarantees every citizen the right to participate in peaceful political activities intended to influence the composition and policies of government. “This right, however, does not extend to joining organizations whose aims and objectives are contrary to the letter and spirit of the Namibian constitution.” In the case of the UDP, the deputy minister added, it is clear that the party’s objective of seceding the Caprivi region from the rest of the country constitutes a serious violation of the Namibian constitution. He warned, “From this day on, no UDP meetings will be allowed in Namibia and individuals publicly advocating the secession of the Caprivi region from the rest of the country in furtherance of UDP objectives will be dealt with according to the existing Namibian laws.” He assured: “Any organization purporting to pursue political objectives through illegal activities will find it difficult to comply with our laws, including the requirements of the Electoral Act. Consequently, any individual who associates himself or herself with such entity violates the Namibian constitution.” Even though the country’s constitution permits individuals to form or join any political party of their choice, if such a party is not registered by the Electoral Commission of Namibia, and in addition carries objectives that are beyond the constitution’s provisions, such an entity is regarded as illegal. During the commemoration of Heroes’ Day 2006 in the Caprivi Region, President Hifikepunye Pohamba pointed out that he has a duty to protect, defend and uphold the Namibian constitution, the laws of the country and its territorial integrity. Based on that, the government has appealed to residents in the Caprivi to remain calm while the government closely monitors the situation and ensures the maintenance of safety, security, law and order in the country. Last week, the official opposition party, the Congress of Democrats (CoD), distanced itself from the reported latest developments in the Caprivi. Considering that two individuals from the UDP are former members of the CoD, namely, Dusken Mulisa and Crispin Matongo, CoD President Ben Ulenga noted the party has distanced itself from these individuals and the alleged spreading of misinformation regarding their relationship with their former party. Ulenga in a statement said that his party is in no any way involved in these new developments in the region and that there is no connection between the UDP and CoD whatsoever.

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