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Opinion - Nullify boundary treaty with Botswana

2021-11-18  Staff Reporter

Opinion - Nullify boundary treaty with Botswana
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Ben Nzehengwa


We thank you in anticipation of the publication of this letter in your esteemed newspaper. 

This has reference to an article in your newspaper, dated 5 October 2021, titled chief wants border treaty nullified, by Aron Mushaukwa. 

What the chief has said regarding the boundary treaty between Botswana and Namibia is true, and he is speaking for many people as well as the fact that history is behind him.

 Historically, there has never been a boundary between the former Bechuanaland protectorate and former German Protectorate of SWA on the Chobe River, and it is quite surprising to see that your reporter states in the same article that the main purpose of the joint commission was to eliminate and demarcate the boundary between Botswana and Namibia, along the three rivers in terms of the Anglo-German agreement of 1 July 1890.

 Where is this coming from? Anyone can google the Anglo-German treaty on the internet, and they’ll discover words such as German sphere of influence in south-west Africa; they will also see the 20th degree east of longitude as well as that it was on the understanding that under this arrangement Germany shall be granted free access from its protectorate to the Zambezi River by means of a strip of land not less than 20 English miles wide at any point.

 This agreement had nothing to do with border boundary setting but rather a sphere of influence – a notice to foreign nations that they must not interfere, but it fell short of a declared protectorate; it also stressed that it did not imply the existence of any British or German jurisdiction or protectorate in such a territory! 

The actual area to be covered by this sphere of influence was defined as the country north of the Bechuanaland protectorate and the Limpopo (or Crocodile) river, south of the Zambezi River, east of longitude 20th degrees and west of the Portuguese province of Sofala. 

In other words, this sphere of influence was declared on two kingdoms in the past, namely: on the west Sebitwane country/Makololo country, and in the east Matebeleland and Mashonaland, which included Manyikaland. 

A combination of these territories was later called Zambesia, the fifth country between the Cape of good hope and south of the Zambezi river – the others being South Africa, Bechuanaland, Greater Namaqualand/Damaraland (SWA) and Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique). 

To deny the existence of Sebitwane/Makololo country is sheer ignorance and madness because this is the country that hosted the famous white man who went deep into the interior of Southern Africa, a missionary and explorer, who named a large waterfall on the Zambezi River in 1856 the Victoria Falls after his queen and the man who answered to the name Dr David Livingstone. 

The scramble for Africa was only made at the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 and I am not aware of any Berlin Conference where colonial boundaries were discussed and agreed upon. 

As the colonial boundary for Bechuanaland protectorate was placed on the 22-degree south latitude and ratified at the Berlin Conference as well as the colonial boundary of a territory which constituted the former German protectorate of SWA was placed on the 20th degree east longitude and they remain there today and the only thing we need is leaders and not politicians to acknowledge the truth. 

Leadership is the power to shape the future and the leaders’ task is to boldly confront the currents of change and harness its power for good while politicians are only interested in the outcome of the next elections and therefore are compelled to make as many promises as they can to secure victory, it is doubtful as to whether such people would be inclined to offer meaningful and long-lasting solutions to societal challenges?

 The onus is on the two presidents of both Botswana and Namibia to confirm or deny the existence of colonial old boundaries placed at 22 degrees south Latitude in favour of the Bechuanaland protectorate and 20th degrees of east longitude for the German protectorate of SWA. 

After the admission of these colonial boundaries then we can move on to page two of the case, that is what instruments were used to alter or do away with these colonial boundaries and when? For we know that the terms of reference of the Anglo-German treaty were that Germany recognised the British protectorate over Zanzibar and the rights of British east Africa company over Kenya and Uganda and those of the British South Africa company over Northern Rhodesia. 

The British for their part recognized German rights in East Africa (Tanganyika) and in an additional strip Of SWA (The Caprivi strip) depicted on a map drawn in October 1894. Since Britain had the better of the terms in Africa, she agreed to cede to Germany the North Sea Island of Heligoland which had been taken by the British from Denmark in 1807. 

It is, therefore, laughable to know that there are people right here deprived of their freedom on account of secessionism in Namibia, because the former Caprivi Strip was merely a sphere of influence for Germany and not Namibia. 

What was given to Germany as a route to the Zambezi River remains German’s! 

This was never part of the German part of the former German Protectorate of SWA. 

So that boundary treaty on Chobe River must be forthwith nullified, because how can the former President of Botswana forget that it was his grandfather who made an agreement with Sir General Charles Warren, the leader of the Bechuanaland expedition in 1884 whose agreement to place the colonial boundary of Bechuanaland protectorate on the 22 degrees south latitude, this is nothing but hypocrisy of the highest order and a trouble maker! 

Dr Ian Khama, the great-grandson of Kori, would have been the last person not to know the colonial boundary of the former Bechuanaland Protectorate.

 The state of Bechuanaland was besieged by excessive stealing reprisal necessitating the Bechuanaland expedition under Sir General Charles Warren who left England in 1884.

 The boundaries of Bechuanaland protectorate and that of the German Protectorate of SWA were demarcated already between 1884-1885, so what are these new boundaries being signed for in February 2018 when the colonial boundaries of the Bechuanaland protectorate were already established on 30/09/1885 at Shoshong Between Chief Khama and Queen Victoria’s representative Sir General Charles Warren?

2021-11-18  Staff Reporter

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