Why a Namibia-Botswana border pact is under fire

It's not reflective of the true wishes of local communities says Namibia's opposition Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) of a treaty…

It’s not reflective of the true wishes of local communities says Namibia’s opposition Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) of a treaty between the country and its Southern African neighbour Botswana.The PDM is therefore demanding the cancellation of the 2018 border treaty which it claims was hastily concluded without consultations with affected communities.

PDM lawmaker Geoffrey Mwilima said Namibians living along the border with Botswana have complained that part of their grazing land and tourist attractions “are now part of Botswana following the signing of the boundary treaty by the then Botswana President Liutenant General Ian Khama and President Hage Geingob in 2018.”

“Botswana is killing our citizens with impunity, taking our grazing land as if we are no-man’s land,” Mwilima told journalists on Tuesday in Katima Mulilo, capital of Zambezi Region.

He said the affected communities were complaining of harassment by the Botswana Defence Force within Namibia.

“The PDM expects that government should, therefore, seriously defend the territorial integrity of this country,” the lawmaker said.

He said there are fears that parts of Namibia have been annexed to Botswana “under the pretext of an international treaty.”

The official called on the Windhoek authorities to consult all affected citizens “without fear or favour”.

“The issue of the boundary treaty is not an easy one. There was supposed to be a serious intervention by government to conduct a public participation (campaign),”

The issue of the border became topical last year when members of the BDF shot dead five Namibian fisherman who were accused of illegally fishing in Botswana waters. 

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