The Lobatse High Court has interdicted the Botswana government from deporting Namibian refugees at Dukwi Camp back to the Caprivi Strip pending the determination of the review application.
In an order made by Justice Godfrey Nthomiwa on Wednesday this week at the Lobatse High Court, the respondents being the Attorney General, Minister of Defense, Justice and Security, Chairperson of the Refugees Advisory Committee, Minister of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs and Dukwi Camp Commandant are interdicted and restrained from continuing with the repatriation of the Caprivians until reasons for their fleeing no longer exists.
Justice Nthomiwa further ordered for the release of Felix Kakula and 14 other Caprivian Refugees currently incarcerated at the Francistown Centre for Illegal Immigrants.
Kakula and his other 11 colleagues were arrested by Botswana Police on 19th June in Gaborone where they had gone to submit a petition to the SADC Secretariat.
Bothman Ntesa, Nelson Mbeha, Bernard Mainga, Raymond Kawana, Christina Musole, Mary Chilinda, Oscar Njubei, Muhinda Mubuyaeta, Gideon Mwilima, Francis Musilizo, Hoster Songa and Kakula were all arrested for leaving the refugee camp without permission.
There are currently 15 Namibian refugees at the Centre for Illegal Immigrants and 837 still living at the Dukwi Refugee Camp.
The Botswana government had set the 11th of July date as the deadline for all Namibian refugees to have registered for voluntary repatriation, failure of which they would lose their refugee status.
The government’s plan to forcefully relocate the refugees to the Centre for Illegal Immigrants where they would await deportation to Namibia was however thwarted by an application made by Tyson Mojela which was heard on 13th July.
The State argued that the refugee status of all Namibian refugees ceased on the 31st December 2015 when Botswana invoked a cessation clause in line with Article 1 of the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.
Since the invocation of the cessation clause, 124 former Namibian refugees have voluntarily repatriated.
There is however a group led by Kakula who seem to prefer integration and are demanding to be recognized as political asylum seekers.
In one of the many meetings with the Ministry, Kakula once remarked that the best thing Botswana can do is to kill them and carry them back to Namibia in body bags.
In a heated meeting in 2015 attended by Namibia Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration, Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana, the fiery Kakula said they had proof that some refugees who voluntarily left are being persecuted.
“Some have vanished into thin air while some have been slapped with treason charges, he said.