Selfish Namibians are abusing the non-visa entry requirement to seek asylum in the United Kingdom to the detriment of legitimate asylum-seekers from war-torn nations or those fleeing distress.
British High Commissioner to Namibia, Charles Moore, ventilated this concern shortly after paying a courtesy visit to President Hage Geingob at State House yesterday.
“Namibia is a non-visa country. That means that if you want to go for a visit as a tourist, you don’t need a visa. You do, however, need a visa if you are going to work or study longer than three months,” Moore explained.
But there are unscrupulous individuals exploiting the status quo. “Because Namibia is a non-visa country, we’ve had an increasing number of young Namibians turning up in the UK this year and claiming asylum,” he said without providing specific numbers of Namibian asylum-seekers.
According to him, he sees no justifications for Namibians to seek asylum anywhere in the world.
“Asylum should be for people fleeing persecution, war and conflicts and famine and that sort of thing. It is not for people who are going into the UK, get a job and stay for longer and unfortunately, that’s what we’ve seen happening.
“Personally, I don’t think that’s right. It’s rather selfish because it also blocks the asylum system which is there to assist people who are in real distress,” he stated.
Moore was responding to media queries on last month’s failed trip to the UK involving around 200 Namibians.
They were expected to attend the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham which ended last month without any participant setting foot in England.
Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) Katutura Central constituency councillor Vezemba Rodman Katjaimo concocted the said trip.
Details about the trip have emerged suggesting that the Commonwealth Games were simply a guise used by Katjaimo and his group. Their aim was to go and seek asylum in the UK. Moore is aware of the scheme.
According to him, Katjaimo’s office made several enquiries to his office at the formative stages of the trip when he wanted to establish if visas were required by Namibians traveling to the UK. Their involvement ended there.
“We were actually very keen for people to go to the Commonwealth Games to support. We were quite excited that there would be a group from Namibia going,” Moore said.
Asked about the trip’s collapse due to stringent immigration laws, the diplomat said the commission was not involved.
He raised the alarm regardless.
“We have concerns about rising numbers of Namibians who are going to the UK and claiming asylum,” he said without providing figures.
The UK’s immigration officials and airlines have ganged up to tighten the noose on the loopholes.
“With huge numbers of people going to the UK as a group, the airlines expressed concerns. It was the airlines who refused to carry the group to the UK because if an airline carries somebody who is not admitted entry, they get fined.”
“It’s a commercial decision for the airlines to carry the first group on the councillor’s list because the airline was not convinced that they were all genuine visitors,” Moore added.
Questions sent to foreign affairs executive director Penda Naanda were not responded to, at the time of going to print.
Tonight, the PDM management committee (MC) will convene. Chief on the agenda is Katjaimo’s fate.
The meeting’s direction will be guided by a report produced by an ad-hoc committee spearheaded by the official opposition’s secretary general (SG), Manuel Ngaringombe.
New Era has seen the 38-page dossier in which Katjaimo explains his side of the story.
It would appear, however, that Katjaimo is the only source of information in the report.
More so, the report makes no recommendations to the management committee.
Other members of the committee include parliamentarians Maximiliant Katjimune and Hidipo Hamata. Former parliamentarian Esmeralda !Aebes completes the commission.
The embattled politician also provided documents, seemingly, payment receipts for flights and accommodation.
PDM’s top administrator concedes in the report that the committee’s wings are severely clipped. “This committee has no constitutional power in terms of the PDM constitution to make any recommendations or adverse findings in favour or against Mr Katjaimo, as that would constitute impeding on the powers of the management committee,” reads an excerpt in the report.
The ball now lies in the MC’s court.
“It is left in the hands of the management committee to make recommendations after consideration of the findings gathered as they are in this report,” it further states.
The quartet wanted to establish three things from their besieged member: What happened? Was there improper conduct on the part of Katjaimo and if a public office was abused? Whether or not punitive measures be taken against him.
Katjaimo is accused of embezzling monies from destitute Namibians, fraud, money laundering and abusing a public office for self-gratification.
“The committee now puts the findings of this report as they are to the management committee for consideration and recommendation on any further action as contemplated by the provisions of Article 5 (b) (3) of the PDM constitution,” the committee concluded.