THE Namibian Lives Matter (NLM) movement says it will approach the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU) in a bid to have an impartial inquest into the killing of four men along the Chobe River by the Botswana army in 2020.
This comes as both the movement and the Namibian government have engaged lawyers to study the inquest ruling into the killing of Tommy, Martin, and Wamunyima Nchindo, and their cousin Sinvula Munyeme.
The men were shot and killed by the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) on 5 November 2020.
During her inquest ruling last week, Botswana regional magistrate Taboka Mopipi found the BDF had no intent to kill, but only retaliated after the slain fishermen shot at them.
Therefore, the BDF members cannot be held criminally liable for the deaths of the deceased persons, she said.
“We consider the verdict as highly biased and a miscarriage of justice by Botswana. We will now seek legal recourse and redress from SADC and the AU where an impartial court will handle this matter independent of Namibia and Botswana,” NLM national chairperson Sinvula Mudabeti says.
He says the verdict was a clear indication that Botswana does not respect human rights and the sanctity of life.
“We also take note that the verdict is a licence to the BDF to shoot and kill Namibians as they please,” Mudabeti says.
He says the movement will soon call for community meetings to adopt a long-term strategy on Botswana.
Minister of international relations and cooperation Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah issued a statement over the weekend, saying the 54-page judgement is being scrutinised by government attorneys, who will pronounce themselves on the issue in due course
” . . . as the Namibian nation and the family of the deceased were expecting an appropriate closure to this unfortunate incident,” she said.
Zambezi Development Association chairperson Blessing Maanda blames the ruling on the Namibian government, saying they were not prepared, and that this was also evident in the case of Kasikili Island, which Namibia has also lost.
He says the inquest was not only supposed to focus on the deaths of the four fishermen, but also on the other 33 people who have lost their lives at the hands of the BDF.
“We can blame the Botswana court ruling, but the truth is there was no joint investigation.
The leaders have failed us when it comes to the BDF soldiers killing our people. Our chances to take the case further is compromised because of a lack of preparation from our side,” he says.