Windhoek-The Namibian government is taking steps to repatriate Batswana of Namibian descent who have shown a willingness to return to Namibia.
Between 1904 and 1908 large numbers of Ovaherero, Ovambanderu and Nama people fled Namibia to Botswana to escape the indiscriminate and genocidal wrath of German colonial troops, who were acting on an extermination order from the infamous General Lothar von Trotha.
The Ovaherero and Ovambanderu people in Botswana are descendants of those who fled the 1904 genocidal wrath and many now live in villages such as Tsau, Semboyo, Makakung, Kareng, Bothatogo, Toteng, Sehithwa, Bodibeng, Komana and Chanoga, the Ngamiland District at large and centres such as Charleshill and Maun.
Speaking in parliament last week, Minister of Land Reform Utoni Nujoma said the government through his ministry will this year undertake a special programme, which is the repatriation of the Batswana of Namibian descent. He said this when motivating his ministry’s 2018/19 budget of N$476 million.
Nujoma said the reparation is a voluntary exercise and involves the assistance of and support to those descendants of Namibia currently staying in Botswana “as a result of the cruel German colonial genocide perpetuated over our communities who would like to be repatriated”.
According to him, the first phase of the exercise will involve the identification of would-be repatriates, the establishment of reception centres and handling facilities of both humans and animals plus the identification of suitable land for this purpose.
The Baherero and Ovambanderu Repatriation Committee, and Relocation organiser Kaaya Korujezu told New Era over the weekend that there is a list of over 1,200 Ovaherero and Ovambanderu families who have shown a willingness to return to Namibia.
New Era understands that because of constant outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in the Ngamiland District, the Ovaherero and Ovambanderu people, who mostly make a living from livestock, have been unable to sell their animals and thus want to return to Namibia.
Former Swapo secretary general, Dr Ngarikutuke Tjiriange, in 2016 vowed to fight tooth and nail for the return of Namibians who have been living in Botswana.
“How is it that the first and the second generation are Namibians and the others do not qualify? These people have suffered a lot for this country and I’m going to fight it tooth and nail,” New Era quoted him as saying then.
The Namibian government in 1993 resettled a number of Batswana of Namibian descent in Eiseb Block and Gam in Omaheke and Otjozondjupa regions.