Zambezi residents are still engulfed by fear of visiting the Chobe River as there is no guarantee that they will make it back alive due to the presence of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), regional governor Lawrence Sampofu has said.
The governor narrated in a recent interview with Nampa that fear has gripped the residents as they await reassurances from the two governments that their safety along the Chobe River is guaranteed.
“When it comes to security, the environment is not conducive at all. People are terrified. The last case reported (harassment by DBF) was in May involving tourists who were on a boat on the river. But even without new cases, people don’t feel safe. Many of them do not even go to the river anymore,” Sampofu stressed.
He said there is a feeling of helplessness as there is nothing he can do on the regional level as his office and traditional leaders in the region await updates from the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation on the way forward.
Sampofu is not the only one who has expressed concern with the security situation in that region, as Namibian Economic Freedom Fighters’ (NEFF) parliamentarian Kalimbo Iipumbu recently tabled a motion in the National Assembly, calling on lawmakers to debate the security issues for those living along the two countries’ borders
He urged parliamentarians to come up with proper resolutions that could be shared between Namibia and Botswana in a bid to find lasting peace and maintain neighbourliness.
“Namibia is politically independent, but many of its citizens are not living freely, neither [are they] moving freely along the Zambezi borders. Our people continue to be frightened by the Botswana authorities. We need to give our position and as Parliament,” he stated.
He added that while the borders are known, Namibians continue to be terrified, and those living near the borders are not enjoying their freedom of movement as provided for by the country’s Constitution.
Similarly, councillor for the Kabbe South constituency in the Zambezi region, John Likando, tabled a motion in the National Council, calling for a debate among councillors on the security situation along the Chobe
According to Likando, there are continued threats and intimidation of civilians and tourists by the BDF in Zambezi, especially those who live or find themselves along the Chobe/Kwando River. -Nampa