Baherero Repatriation Uncertain

Date:

  • Baherero representatives expect over 100 Baherero to repatriate to Namibia before end of this year
  • District Commissioner says no approved list yet from government
  • No date set for repatriation
  • Immigration official reveal some have changed their mind about repatriating to Namibia

While the repatriation committee of Baherero is hopeful that over 100 Baherero of Namibian descent will be duly repatriated to that country before end of the year, government officials on the Botswana side remain resolute that processes remain incomplete and there are no set dates yet.

Some Ovaherero, Ovambanderu and Nama people living in Ngamiland long declared their interest to relocate about a decade ago, and initially wrote to the two governments, but the processes have been slow as several inter-governmental consultation meetings have been held to work out the modalities of the repatriation.

Committees have been set up in both sides of the borders, but it would appear the process has been marred with delay due to finalisation of modalities for the execution of the final repatriation.

Chairman of the Repatriation Committee of Herero, Justice Muinjo Muinjo has told The Ngami Times that they expect over 100 people to repatriate to Namibia before end of this year.

Muinjo stated that some of the people who have registered to repatriate have not yet renounced their Botswana citizenship and have not been issued with their renunciation Certificates hence the delay. He indicated that they are currently waiting for the renunciation documents from the government in order for some of their members to officially renounce their citizenship.

According to Muinjo, about 55 people have already renounced their citizenship and offered certificates by the government. He noted that among the people that are supposed to repatriate some have already renounced but have not been issued with renunciation certificates.

However, Botswana ‘s acting Deputy Director in the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Andreas Moeng has explained that there are some renunciation certificates that have been issued to those who want to repatriate, but some of them have not yet collected their certificates. He said that among those who have collected the certificates, some have changed their mind about repatriation to Namibia. This has further made the process cumbersome.

For his part, North West District Commissioner, Thabang Waloka who heads the district repatriation committee, has revealed that in order for the people to repatriate there has to be a list that has been approved by the government to permit them to do so.

He said that currently there is no list yet of those to be repatriated.  Furthermore Waloka said without the approved list, there is no time set for the repatriation to be executed. Waloka’s statement dampens the hopes by those who desire to be repatriated to have relocated by the end of the year.

“At the moment I do not have the statistics of people who have been approved by the government to repatriate, it is not for me to announce that information, I can only derive the statistics if the government has released them officially,” said Waloka.

The mandate of the District Repatriation Committee is to facilitate the repatriates with renunciation for their interests to be met working together with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. 

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 genocide 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, Chanoga, Charleshill and Maun.

The Namibian descendants, who settled as refugees around Maun and Shakawe areas, initially wrote to the Botswana government requesting for repatriation back to their ancestral lands in northern Namibia in mid-2013.

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