WINDHOEK, 10 APR – Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi said his administration is working tirelessly to repatriate former Dukwi refugees back to Namibia.
“It is only a matter of the fact that they sought a court order to interdict the repatriation, but we do not perceive them to be refugees anymore,” Masisi told a media conference at State House on Monday.
A cessation clause ending the recognition of Namibians as refugees at that camp came into effect on 31 December 2015. These refugees, however, approached the Botswana High Court seeking a restraining order to stop the Botswana Government from implementing the clause, and won the case.
The remaining refugees at the camp are part of close to 3 000 Namibians who fled the country in 2000 in the aftermath of a failed bid to secede the then Caprivi Region, now Zambezi, from the rest of the country in 1999.
Masisi emphasised that his government will deal with those who demonstrate themselves as not being genuine refugees, particularly by engaging in political activity in the territory of Botswana.
He noted that the Namibians in Dukwi are not Batswana – they are Namibians.
“They are not refugees; they then become illegal immigrants. There are laws that govern what you do and how you handle the business of illegal immigrants,” he said.
Speaking at the same occasion, Geingob said the reason why some people are not willing to come back to Namibia is because they still want to secede the Zambezi Region from Namibia.
“Our people have gone there and told them to come and see how the others are accommodated but if you are using a refugee situation while you have another agenda, of course you are not going to come back because that will take away from your plans,” Geingob said.
The two leaders met Monday during Masisi’s first international trip since becoming president of Botswana on 01 April 2018.