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Ministerial missions must promote border peace

Ministerial missions must promote border peace

Niël Terblanché


THE President of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Masisi, has dispatched a high-level cabinet team to allay apprehensions and enhance the spirit of good neighbourliness between Namibia and Botswana.


In a statement released by Botswana’s Office of the President, the government said the team was expressly delegated to keep the communities in the areas abreast of recent developments following the shooting of three Namibian nationals and a Zambian national near Kasane.


The delegation left for the border area on the same day that brothers Tommy Nchindo, Wamunyima Nchindo, Martin Nchindo, and their elderly mother, Nkungano Nchindo, who died after learning about the death of her sons, were laid to rest at their home village on the Impalila Island.


A cousin to the Nchindo brothers, Simvula Munyeme, who is from Zambia, was also killed by the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) on the night the other three were killed while out fishing at night.


“The Ministerial Mission is to further allay apprehensions and enhance the spirit of good neighbourliness, nurtured by the excellent bilateral relations subsiding between the two countries,” the statement said.


FINDING SOLUTIONS: The Heads of State of Namibia and Botswana, President Hage Geingob and President Mokgweetsi Masisi have promised the nations of both countries that the killing of four fishermen by soldiers of the BDF and the diplomatic tiff that resulted from the incident will by amicably resolved. – Photo: File


According to the statement, the three-member delegation consists of the Minister of International Affairs, and Cooperation, Dr. Lemogang Kwape, who will be the leader of the delegation, the Minister of Defence, Justice, and Security, Kagiso Thomas Mmusi, and the Assistant Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science, and Technology, Machana Shamukuni, who is also a Member of Parliament for Chobe.


The statement said that the delegation will hold meetings and engage communities around Kasane, Kazangula, Parekarungu, and other border villages to familiarise themselves with the concerns of the communities, all while assuring the people of the successful presidential engagements between the two heads of state since the incident occurred.


According to the statement, communities along the border will be assured that the situation will be resolved amicably.


In the meantime, a high-level ministerial delegation from Namibia under the leadership of Vice-President Nangolo Mbumba has been in the Zambezi Region since the past weekend to establish calm amongst communities on the Namibian side of the border.


Mbumba delivered a message of condolence on behalf of President Hage Geingob to the Nchindo family during a memorial service held on the Impalila Island on Monday, where residents of the region have been given similar assurances after emotions flared up and riotous behaviour ensued.


During one of the incidents, some trucks registered in Botswana were damaged by an unruly element in the crowd that awaited the repatriation of the bodies of the four deceased fishermen from Botswana on Saturday.


The situation prompted Dr. Kwape, the Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation in Botswana, to issue a request that the Batswana stop provoking Namibians on social media platforms.


Dr. Kwape further urged the Batswana to be cautious at all times and to avoid using any words that could provoke Namibians, especially because emotions in the Zambezi Region are still running high.


Since the death of the four Namibian fishermen almost two weeks ago, pictures and videos of their bullet ridden bodies have been spreading on social media platforms in Botswana.


An activist for an opposition party in Botswana was arrested and questioned by the police in Francistown for perpetuating the visual material of the deceased men on social media.


The activist was released several hours after his arrest without being charged the past weekend.


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