President Hage Geingob has said government will consider the request by the family of the three brothers and a cousin, who were gunned down by members of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) late last year, to view the contents of the report into the killing. 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 last year along the Chobe River.
Geingob, according to press secretary Alfredo Hengari, said this during a meeting between him and the Nchindo family at Impalila Island in the Zambezi region on Sunday.
He was accompanied by Zambezi governor Lawrence Sampofu, Chief Kisco Liswani III of the Masubia, Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, newly appointed home affairs minister Albert Kawana, secretary to Cabinet George Simataa and environment deputy minister Heather Sibungo.
“With regard to the report, which the Nchindo family requested to see, the President informed them the joint report investigation into the killings was complete, as he had previously announced, and the Government would consider their request to view contents of the report,” Hengari quoted Geingob as having told the family.
However, Hengari said Geingob emphasised that the question of jurisdiction was equally important, and the report could not be made public.
On his part, Nchindo family spokesperson Owen Sinvula expressed appreciation to Geingob and the government for having comforted the family during a difficult period after the killings of the Nchindo brothers and their cousin, including the brothers’ mother, Alphonsina Nkungano Mubu, who later passed away.
Sinvula also used the opportunity to distance the family from the activities of the Zambezi Lives Matter (ZLM) movement.
Sinvula further requested additional assistance following the deaths of the brothers, to which Geingob responded that the government would look into the request for assistance, in addition to what had been provided already.
“We request government to negotiate for compensation with the Botswana government. In the event that the matter is before court in Botswana, to allow members of the family to attend court proceedings as we bring the matter to closure,” said Sinvula.
Meanwhile, during an earlier meeting held between Geingob and traditional leaders at the island, members of the community raised a number of developmental concerns, including the absence of adequate health infrastructure on the island, and other infrastructure deficits leading to poor access to the mainland, as well as the need for more employment opportunities for the residents.
Hengari said Geingob informed community members that government would look into the issues raised, and the relevant government offices, ministries and agencies would look at addressing the concerns of the Impalila community.
He said the community further requested Geingob to return to the island before the completion of his presidential term, a request Geingob acceded to without hesitation.
Those who were part of the meeting, according to Hengari, were Chief Kisco Liswani III of the Masubia, Chief Boniface Shufu of the Mayeyi, Chief Joseph Tembwe Mayuni of the Mashi and Chief George Mamili VII of the Mafwe.
On their part, Hengari said the tribal leaders assured Geingob of their continued cooperation in order to advance the collective developmental interests of the region.
In March this year, Botswana leader Mokgweetsi Masisi told journalists during a working visit at the Namibian State House that the joint investigation report into the shooting was not yet for public consumption. At the time, Masisi claimed there was a judicial process that still needed to be completed in Botswana before the report is released to the public. “As is the case in Botswana and the incident took place in Botswana, there is a judicial process. Unfortunately, for the time being, the matter is sub judice,” Masisi was quoted as saying. “There is a process that still needs to be completed in Botswana. I would advise strongly not for the report to be made public until so authorised by a competent court. The content of the report established all the facts. Let us not go ahead of the truth, until the competent court authorises it.”