KATIMA MULILO – The ministers of international relations of Botswana and Namibia signed a communiqué at the end of their two-day engagement held in Kasane and Katima Mulilo on Friday.
Botswana’s Lemogang Kwape and eputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah called on security clusters from the two countries to implement resolutions in the signed agreement, which include, among others, to co-exist peacefully.
The agreement is aimed at bringing to a close the subject of the killing of three Namibians and their Zambian cousin last year by the Botswana Defence Force. The parties also reaffirmed their continued willingness to share natural resources along the border.
Three brothers, Tommy, Martin and Wamunyima Nchindo, and their cousin Sinvula Muyeme, were shot by BDF on 5 November 2020, on suspicion they were part of a poaching syndicate.
In April this year, President Hage Geingob, while visiting the family, said government will consider the request by the family of the slain fishermen to view the contents of the report into the killing.
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.”
The two parties also said: “It will also be necessary to develop and enter into joint agreements to establish a joint permanent command centre to enable the security forces of the two countries to conduct joint patrols; to apprehend culprits and bring them to book. That is very important because both our countries cannot condone crime,” stated Nandi-Ndaitwah.
Her counterpart also shared the same sentiments, stressing that residents of Zambezi region and Chobe district share blood relations; therefore, it is pivotal they maintain peace at all times.
He further revealed that an independent body has opened an inquest into the killing of three Namibians and their Zambian cousin last year by the Botswana Defence Force.
“We do not want anyone of us to live in fear. We want the water to be still, and it is my certain hope that peace and hope, love and kindness that have existed between our two countries will prevail,” said Lemogang.
Other resolutions in the signed agreement include the call for the speedy implementation of the agreement signed between the two countries in February last year for the residents of Impalila and Kasika to use border passes when they cross over to Kasane.
In addition, the communiqué also calls for the Chobe Distric Council and the Zambezi Regional Council to enter into a twinning agreement, which will, among others, enhance cooperation between the two local authorities, as well as facilitate regular engagements by the traditional authorities.