Zambezi residents to protest name change
Residents of Katima Mulilo will take to the streets today in a mass protest of the recent renaming of the north-eastern Caprivi Region to Zambezi Region.
The march from the town centre to the government offices in the Boma suburb will be led by the chairperson of the Concerned Caprivians group, Linus Muchila.
Police Deputy Commissioner Rudolf Kanyetu confirmed that the demonstrators had given notice of the demonstration and requested a police presence.
"The presence of the police during the demonstration procession will just be to maintain and keep order. We will not stop or interfere with them in any way whatsoever. It is the resident' constitutional right to demonstrate, as long as there is written intention and permission to do so," Kanyetu said.
Edwin Manja Samati, a member of the concerned group, confirmed to Namibian Sun that a petition detailing the concerns and wishes of the residents will be handed over to Governor Lawrence Sampofu.
The demonstration is in protest against the decision by President Hifikepunye Pohamba to rename the 450-kilometre strip after the Zambezi River that forms borders with Angola, Zambia and Botswana.
The region was formerly named after Count Leo von Caprivi, who was the chancellor of imperial Germany from 1890 to 1894.
Pohamba further renamed the Schuckmannsburg area in the former Caprivi Region to its original name of Luhonono and split the Linyanti constituency into two, with one part named after liberation struggle hero Judea Lyaboloma.
The Kabbe Constituency was also split, with one section now known as the Kabbe South Constituency.
The renaming of the region was not well received and remains a topic of heated debate amongst residents and non-residents of the region.
Two weeks ago, the Concerned Caprivians group issued a press statement in which they expressed their concern over the renaming of the region and the shifting of regional boundaries and demarcation of constituencies.
According to Robert Sililo, the name change from Caprivi to Zambezi is aimed at destroying the identity and history of the residents and diluting the political foundations of the Caprivi African National Union (Canu) party.
Canu was founded by the late Brendan Kangongolo Simbwaye and now exiled former DTA leader Mishake Muyongo.
"This reminds us of the torture, humiliation, suffering and subjugation of the people of Caprivi who stood firm to fight for the freedom that many enjoy today.
"We question the norm, how the Delimitation Commission came to make some recommendations over the name change when the majority masses of Caprivi were not holistically consulted," read part of the statement.