By Confidénte Reporter
THE Delimitation Commission has the power to change regional boundaries of the Caprivi region and allocate the land to the Kavango region, the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Dr Albert Kawana has said.
Kawana described as non-issue submissions by a group of academics from the Caprivi to the Delimitation Commission over the proposed moving of regional boundaries from the Kavango region to Kwando River in the Caprivi.
In an interview, Kawana said the group of concerned Caprivians’ submissions that the Kavango region cannot move eastwards and claim land from the Caprivi on tribal grounds was of no bearing according to the Constitution.
“According to article 102 sub 2 the delimitation of boundaries of regions or local authorities shall be geographical only without reference to race, colour, ethnicity and origin of inhabitants.
“It’s a non- issue, their submissions to the Delimitation Commission as far as I am concerned. Those issues they raised are completely non- issues. The Delimitation Commission is entitled to change boundaries. Section 5 of the Regional Act of 1992 is where the Commission’s terms of reference are stipulated,” Kawana said.
The concerned group of Caprivians comprising of University of Namibia (Unam) Pro-Vice Chancellor for Finance, Dr Boniface Mutumba; Vincent Sina-lumbu, a Deputy Director at Parliament; Gladstone Mut¬wa, who works in the Ministry of Jus¬tice legal drafting de¬partment; Benjamin Mabuku, who works in the Min¬istry of Foreign Af¬fairs, former manag¬ing director of the now defunct Amcom, Ben Siyam¬bango; Dr John Lilem¬ba, a lecturer at Unam; Dr Vincent Sazitaa, a lecturer at the International University of Management (IUM) and seventeen others, in submissions to the Delimita¬tion Commission, accused the Kavango leaders of ad¬vocating theft of land from the Caprivi region.
President Hifikepunye Pohamba, appointed High Court Judge Alfred Siboleka as Chairperson of the Commission, with retried diplomat, Dr Zedekia Nga¬virue and Namibia Statistical Agency Chief Executive Officer John Steytler to advise him in June on matters pertaining to the delimitation and demarcation of the boundaries of constituencies and political regions in the country. Their work will enable the Electoral Commission of Namibia to compile a new Voter’s Roll in preparation for the National Assembly and Presidential Elections scheduled for next year.
The concerned Caprivi group argue that the pro¬posed “stealing” of “more land” from the Caprivi will create instability in the country.
“To advance an argument that the Kavango Re¬gion needs to first extend its territorial jurisdiction eastward to the Kwando River and the Region needs to be divided into two regions in order for the people of Kavango to receive fair share of the distribution of national resources is definitely a fallacy. This state-ment is rather naive and unfortunate and is in conflict with government policy of administering the country through thirteen regions,” they wrote.
The group said it was not only illogical but a pro¬vocative stance that will most likely bring disunity in the country that the Kavango wants to get a fair share of the distribution of national resources by grabbing land from its adjacent sister region.
“What makes the Kavango Region think that it is in order for them to keep on encroaching on the Caprivi land? Is it because the people of the Caprivi were quiet when the Divindu Prison was constructed amid reports that one of the Chiefs allocated land to Government without consent of the owners of the land who are people of Caprivi?” the group wrote to the Delimitation Commission.
The group also alluded that during the early 1960s and early 1970s people intending to cross the Oka¬vango River at Bagani needed to obtain permits in Rundu to allow them into the Caprivi.
“As if that was not enough evidence, bill boards have been erected at the Bagani crossing point, long before the bridge was built, signalling to any visitor crossing the river that he/she was at that point enter¬ing the Caprivi.”
The group recommended to the Delimitation Commission to restore the boundaries of the Capri¬vi from Andara to Impalila as well as that political boundaries take cognisance of regional boundaries.
They also proposed that if there is need to create another constituency within the Caprivi Strip which stretches from Bagani to somewhere in Chetto, the constituency should fall under the jurisdiction of the Caprivi Regional Council.
They also called on a joint dialogue led by Re¬gional Governors from both regions attended by traditional leaders, regional councillors, delimitation commissioners, politicians, academics/historians from the two regions to discuss this “potentially divi¬sive” subject and find an amicable solution.