THE governments of Namibia and Botswana have agreed to allow the Zambezi Regional Council and the Chobe District Council to enter into a twinning agreement to better manage resources on the banks of the Chobe River which forms the common border between the two countries.
The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwa and her counterpart from Botswana, Dr Lemogang Kwape on a joint visit to the region decided that the best way forward would be improved cooperation between the two governments.
According to joint communiqué issued on behalf of both governments, the visit to the specific area by the foreign affairs minister of both countries occurred at the directive of the heads of state in the aftermath of the turmoil that broke out after four Namibian fishermen were killed by members of the Botswana Defence force at the beginning of November last year.
The joint communiqué states that the ministers undertook the visit to the area to familiarize themselves with the situation on the ground. The visit included the engagement of local communities and other stakeholders on the importance of peaceful coexistence along the common border.
During the visit, the ministers and their delegations held bilateral talks with the various leadership structures of the Zambezi Region and the Chobe District.
The parties reiterated that the people of Chobe District and the Zambezi Region share blood relations which will continue to exist for centuries to come. The families are separated by the Chobe River and share resources such as fish, water, reeds, and grazing land that sustain their livelihood and the minister underscored the importance of the shared responsibility to protect and conserve the shared resources.
The matter of the safety and security of communities on both banks and islands in the river will be escalated to the Inaugural Session of the Bi-National Commission where further resolutions will be formulated for continued peace and stability.
The twinning agreement between the Zambezi Region and the Chobe district is aimed at facilitating enhanced cooperation regular engagement of the various traditional authorities.
Both foreign affairs ministers expressed confidence that the security clusters of both countries will initiate workable modalities to further strengthen cooperation on matters of mutual concern and interest.
Both ministers called for the speedy implementation of the Agreement on the Facilitation of Persons Residing in the Impalila and Kasika Villages that were signed in February 2020.
According to the joint communiqué, the minister underscored their commitment to continue consolidating bilateral cooperation, the promotion of good neighbourliness, and peaceful coexistence within the spirit of realizing regional and continental integration agenda within the framework of the Southern African Development Community’s Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan, the African Continental Free Trade Area and the eventual attainment of the African Union’s Agenda 2063.