Windhoek – Talks between the Namibian and Botswana governments are at an advanced stage to repatriate over 250 Ovaherero and Ovambanderu living in Botswana who have shown a willingness to return to their country of origin Namibia. This was confirmed in a communique issued by the Botswana Ministry of International Affairs and Cooperation, addressed to the Secretary of the Repatriation Committee. Between 1904 and 1908 large numbers of Ovaherero, Ovambanderu and Nama people fled then German South West Africa to Botswana to escape the indiscriminate and genocidal wrath of German colonial troops, who were acting on an extermination order from the infamous General Lothar von Trotha. Many now live in villages such as Tsau, Semboyo, Makakung, Kareng, Bothatogo, Toteng, Sehithwa, Bodibeng, Komana and Chanoga, the Ngamiland district at large centres such as Charleshill and Maun.
In the letter signed by the Botswana Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation, Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, it says: “We write to inform that the ministry has communicated to the Government of the Republic of Namibia your wish to be repatriated.” “The government of Namibia has since informed of the establishment of an inter-ministerial committee that is tasked with handling the modalities as well as logistics of the repatriation, and has also requested an updated list of those who wish to be repatriated, including total number of livestock,” the minister’s letter reads. The letter further says that the ministry therefore kindly requests that the group share an updated list of those who wish to be repatriated, and the total number of livestock, for onward transmission to Namibian authorities.
Swapo former secretary general Dr Ngarikutuke Tjiriange last year vowed to fight tooth and nail for the return of Namibians who have been living in Botswana. “How is it that the first and the second generation are Namibians and the others do not qualify? These people have suffered a lot for this country and I’m going to fight it tooth and nail,” he said then. He was speaking at the launch of his autobiography, ‘To Hell and Back’, at the Pan African Institute for the Study of African Society in Windhoek. Tjiriange said those exiled in Botswana and South Africa are not there because they wanted to be there, but their forefathers were forced to leave and if willing to return they should be accepted back home. “These people have done a lot and they must be brought back to their country of origin,” he said. [NewEra]