In an emotional tribute in honour of the four slain fishermen, President Hage Geingob has decried Botswana’s ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy, saying it was not consistent with international and regional core principles of peaceful co-existence and stability.
The President said those responsible for the fatal shooting of the three Namibian fishermen and their cousin from Zambia should be brought to justice, adding the killing of innocent citizens won’t be tolerated.
Geingob’s remarks were part of a message of condolences to the bereaved Nchindo family delivered by Vice President Nangolo Mbumba during yesterday’s memorial service at Impalila Island.
The three deceased brothers as well as their mother who died suddenly on Tuesday will be laid to rest this morning.
“On the 5th of November 2020, the nation woke up to the shocking news of the gruesome killing of our innocent Namibian citizens by the BDF along the Chobe River, who are said to have crossed into Botswana for fishing. These were fellow Namibian fishermen who wanted to make a living and bring food home for their families,” Geingob said. He said as members of the United Nations, Namibia subscribes to the rule of law and democracy.
“We believe that those who are alleged to have transgressed must be brought to justice using the due process of law,” said the head of state.
He said, in any democracy, every person is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. “It is for this reason that those who crossed into Namibia illegally are arrested and charged before the courts of law,” Geingob said.
However, he said, it is unfortunate that Botswana adopted a policy ‘shoot-to-kill’, which is inconsistent with the international and regional core principles of peaceful co-existence and stability.
“I must hasten to point out that previously when H.E Seretse Khama Ian Khama was in office, I had also engaged him on the same matter to consider revoking Botswana’s ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy towards potential transgressors of Botswana’s territorial sovereignty,” Geingob said.
However, he said, with conviction, that there is goodwill on the part of the current president of Botswana to revoke the controversial policy, which according to reports has resulted in the deaths of 37 Namibians since independence.
“I look forward to an urgent diplomatic solution to the problem at hand,” Geingob said.
Furthermore, Geingob called upon all Namibians to cooperate with the authorities and to remain calm and conduct themselves in a peaceful manner without taking the law into their own hands, while the two governments seek a lasting solution to the impasse.
“The government is ceased with the matter and I wish to inform you that we shall not rest until we reach a harmonious solution with the Botswana government,” Geingob said.
“The lives of all Namibians matter and the innocent killings of our people shall not be tolerated.”
The President also said he has instructed the minister of social welfare Doreen Sioka to register the 15 orphans left by the victims for a monthly state grant for orphans and vulnerable children with immediate effect. 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. Their remains arrived at the weekend from Kasane, Botswana.
Commiserating… President Hage Geingob.