AWAITING JUDGEMENT: Kgathi with the Namibian delegation

The Botswana government was stopped on its tracks by an appeal written on behalf of 866 Namibian refugees who refused to voluntarily repatriate on the set 11 July deadline.

The Voice has learnt that only 74 Namibians observed the deadline and returned home voluntarily with the help of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security had made it clear to the Caprivians, who fled their country in 1999 after the failed attempt to secede the then Caprivi region from Namibia, that failure to register for voluntary repatriation will automatically mean they lose their refugee status.

In a recent media briefing in Francistown Minister Shaw Kgathi warned that, all refugees who ignore the deadline would be rounded up and transferred to the Francistown Centre for Illegal Immigrants where they would await deportation.

It has been nine days since the deadline and the Caprivians are still in Dukwi.

In an interview with The Voice, Minister Kgathi said that they had to wait following a complaint registered with the High Court. “Someone has appealed our decision on behalf of the refugees and we could not transfer them to the Francistown Centre of Illegal Immigrants lest we be seen to be pre-empting the court judgement,” Kgathi said.

“It is strange because the complaint has also written on behalf refugees who have voluntarily left,” the Minister said, further adding that they will know what further step to take after the court judgement.

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“Some of the remaining Namibian refugees living at Dukwe recently petitioned the SADC Secretariat office in Gaborone, Botswana demanding that the regional body finds a lasting solution to what they term the “Caprivi political situation”.

In this regard, Valombola said, “The ministry does not have latest update from SADC regarding the demand of Mr Felix Kakula who presented a signed petition by himself to SADC.”??
SADC does not seem to care about refugees in the region this should have been one of their priorities


“Botswana: Caprivi refugees should not be forced to return home 11 July 2018, 07:33 UTC Botswana’s authorities should not force any of the Caprivi refugees to return to their home country Namibia, if a real risk remains that they would face persecution or other serious human rights violations, Amnesty International said as the deadline for their voluntary repatriation expired today. These men, women and children should not be forced to return home if their personal safety cannot be guaranteed Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa Share this Twitter Facebook Email More than 900 refugees, including at least… Read more »


“Refugees and asylum-seekers Botswana’s restrictive encampment policy continued, denying refugees freedom of movement, work and local integration. Asylum-seekers faced lengthy refugee status determination procedures and asylum-seekers – with both pending and denied applications – continued to be detained in the Francistown Centre for Illegal Immigrants. The duration of detention averaged between six months and five years, far beyond the detention period stipulated in the Refugee Act. On 13 April, the High Court ordered the release of two Somali asylum-seekers from the Francistown Centre for Illegal Immigrants. They had been detained in the Centre since being denied refugee status in October… Read more »