Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi is set to arrive in the country this morning for a one-day working visit, which will among others, deliberate on the joint investigation into the fatal shooting of three Namibian brothers and their Zambian cousin by the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) in November last year along the Chobe river.
Both Masisi and President Hage Geingob have supported efforts for a speedy investigation into the unfortunate incident, which last year triggered unprecedented protests in the country.
The three brothers, Tommy (48), Martin (40) and Wamunyima Nchindo (36), and their cousin Sinvula Muyeme (44), were shot by the BDF on 5 November along the Chobe river.
The brothers’ mother Alphonsina Nkungano Mubu (69) also died suddenly from a suspected heart attack days after their killing. The family and witnesses insisted the four were not poachers.
The shooting incident has led to diplomatic tension between the two countries, with Namibian authorities going to the extent of summoning Botswana High Commissioner to Namibia Batlag Serema last year.
Namibians also held emotional protest marches to denounce Botswana’s controversial ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy, which according to reports, has claimed 37 Namibian lives since independence. The investigation into the shooting was completed last year and a report was submitted to the two heads of state for assessment. Presidential spokesperson Alfredo Hengari yesterday said apart from strengthening border security and management, the two presidents will also discuss joint efforts to fight Covid-19, access to vaccines and post-recovery efforts.
Hengari also said Masisi’s visit to Namibia comes ahead of the sixth session of the Namibia-Botswana Permanent Joint Commission of Cooperation (PJCC), to be hosted virtually next month from 16-18 February, where the two countries are expected to review implementation of all bilateral agreements, joint projects and programmes.
During the working visit, Hengari said, the two heads of state will witness the signing of the agreement to elevate the joint commission to a bi-national commission and the sixth PJCC will be the last session before its transformation. This elevation signifies the importance that both countries attach to their bilateral relations.
“As members of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Namibia and Botswana cooperate closely in the fields of trade, health, environmental protection, defence and security, agriculture, education and transport,” Hengari added.