Response to Mr Chrispin Matongo’s Secessionist Outbursts

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Published in The Namibian of Friday, July 28, 2006. Allow me space in your newspaper to comment on the article that appeared on page 9 of The Namibian of Friday 28 July, 2006 under the heading ‘Ex-Prisons Chief Joins Secessionist Cause.” It was reported that Mr Chrispin Matongo, the first Commissioner of Prisons of the Republic of Namibia, is the current Chairperson of the United Democratic Party, UDP, in the Caprivi, the de-facto leader of that organization in the absence of exiled politician, Mishake Muyongo. Whereas all Namibians are guaranteed basic human rights, such as the freedom of expression and association, by the ultimate law of the land, it is unfortunate to note that Mr Matongo, if indeed the report in the print media referred to above correctly quoted him, should sow seeds of confusion, retrogression, and anarchy. Some families and villages directly affected by incidents of the recent past where human lives were lost in the Caprivi region, either through UDP-engineered secessionist attacks or through UNITA banditry, have not yet come to terms with the loss of their loved ones. Thus, when some people propagate secession for the Caprivi region, it raises a lot of questions about peace and stability in the country. In this context, secessionist claims scare potential investors from the region. It is common sense that development will not come to the region as long as fear of political instability threatens the prospective economic viability of the region. It is imperative to note that: – The 21st March 1990 marks the birth of the unitary, secular, sovereign state we must all be proud to call our own and only NAMIBIA. – The exiled leader of Mr Matongo’s party, UDP, participated in the deliberations, drafting and adoption of the independence Constitution, in his capacity as leader of the DTA then. – Whether Mr Muyongo had ever raised the issue of secession for the Caprivi then, even if it would have meant being out-voted by the majority members of the Constituent Assembly, remains untold. At best, Mr Muyongo could have supported the idea propagated then by the late Kaptein Hans Diergaardt of Rehoboth. Of course, even the DTA could have dumped him and replaced him with someone with a Namibian agenda! – Whatever affected Mr Matongo and changed his love for Namibia to that of wanting his “homeland liberated”, must have been serious indeed. If it is a question of loss of job, then he could have directed his wrath at the people of Namibia who did not vote for him to secure the position of Deputy Secretary-General of the CoD in 2004. However, it is also clear that the CoD would have had to reconsider his position if he were to engage in his new-found love to secede the Caprivi from the rest of Namibia. – Can’t Mr Matongo secure a job as an Induna in one or other of the Traditional Khutas in the Caprivi? Indeed, it would be better for the old man to retire from active politics in dignity and respect. – At no time had the people of the Caprivi been specifically requested to indicate their preference, vis-ÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚ -vis their Namibian identity or otherwise. Of course, it was never necessary. Indeed, it is not necessary even now or ever. The supreme law of the land, the Namibian Constitution, is straigh forward and unambiguous on the matter. Namibia is one, indivisible. Unitary. – It is a well-known fact that the ill-advised ambition of secessionism is entertained in only one or two out of the six constituencies in the Caprivi Region. Even in such one or two constituencies, it is doubtful whether the most people there support the idea of secessionism. The democratic principle dictates that the minority conform to the wishes of the majority. The same is true of the few secessionist-minded people in that region. It is a pity they cannot be wished away! They must remember that one’s rights end when another’s begin. It becomes a crime as soon as one infringes upon the rights of another during the exercise of one’s rights, such as those of expression and association. And more so when the fundamental laws of the State are violated. – Suppose each time family members quarrelled amongst themselves and one or more denounced their membership in the family, would there still be families around especially in the context of the Namibian extended family setup? The same must hold true with nations. Namibia is no exception. – The alleged perpetual question of the 1964 Agreement between Messrs Nujoma and Muyongo has been a bone of contention from certain quarters. Mr Matongo is claimed to have made reference to it. I hope someone will be kind enough to produce such document for all to see, analyze and interpret the contents thereof. – There are questions unanswered in Mr Matongo’s claims with regard to the 1964 Agreement he alluded to. For instance: *Was the said Agreement meant to merge the Caprivi with mainland, South West Africa? *Who of the two leaders who signed that Agreement was mandated by the people of the “two countries”, if ever, to conclude and sign such Agreement? *Was the said merger not meant to incorporate CANU into SWAPO, as this is practically what happened then? *Why can’t Mr Matongo and company solicit the services of the NBC’s Talk of the Nation programme to debate with other panelists on their separatist convictions? Whereas the whole idea of secessionism is criminal in nature, as it is unconstitutional, many Namibians may feel that creating a public platform, as envisaged above, may be viewed as amplification or giving publicity to the Caprivi secessionists, I am of the opinion that a public debate would be in the interest of the nation because it might clear up the mist in the minds of the few misguided souls. Benjamin Chika Mabuku Windhoek

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