By Kuvee Kangueehi Windhoek The Namibian Government has strongly denied that it has signed a ‘defence protocol’ with Angola. The government through its Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, who is acting as the Foreign Affairs Minister, stated that “there is no military pact, protocol or memorandum of understanding on bilateral assistance between Namibia and Angola in the event of military conflict with other SADC member states”. A clearly irritated Ndaitwah said the document that is currently being distributed in Namibia that claims otherwise is a fabrication drafted by an individual or a group of individuals who do not value the existing good neighbourly and peaceful relations between Namibia and other SADC member states, including Angola, Botswana and South Africa. The reaction by the minister was prompted by an article that appeared in the Windhoek Observer on September 16, 2006, titled, ‘Provisions of the Luanda-Windhoek Military Pact: The treaty of Dos Santos and Nujoma’. “Namibia maintains excellent relations with all SADC members states, hence there is no need for secret bilateral defence pacts.” She added that in the event of any disagreements or hostilities between or among the SADC members states, there are existing structures within SADC, such as the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, to intervene. The Government called on anybody with information on the origins of the false document to come forward to ensure that action is taken. “The motives of whoever wrote the so-called military pact, indicating the Founding Father of the Namibian Nation, Dr Sam Nujoma and Angolan President Eduardo Dos Santos as masterminds of the document, are unknown.” Ndaitwah added that the fact that the Windhoek Observer mentioned that the “defence protocol” between Namibia and Angola was signed on April 11, 1996, while the document translated from Portuguese that is being distributed provides for a signing date in 2006, is a clear testimony that amateurs are at work to derail the region’s peace, stability and development. She said the only bilateral Protocol on Cooperation between the Government of Namibia and Angola in the Domain of Defence was signed by the Ministry of Defence of Namibia and Angola at Ondangwa on July 7, 2006. “The aim of this protocol is to strengthen cooperation between the two countries in the domain of defence and especially in the technical-military areas at the request of either party within available means of each party in conformity with the parties’ domestic laws and international obligations.” The press conference was also attended by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Lempy Lukas, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence Petrus Shivute, South African Acting High Commissioner to Namibia, Mthembisi Mjikeliso, Antonio Coelho Ramos da Cruz who is the Minister Counsellor for Angola, and Botswana High Commissioner Norman Moleboge. On his part the Botswana diplomat said there is no conflict between Namibia and Botswana and thus the article came as a surprise. Mjikeliso said the statements in the paper must be “taken with a pinch of salt” and he was not under any illusion that it held any truths.
4.4 ° C