DECLARATION OF THE MOST DIRECTLY AFFECTED OVAHIMBA, OVATWA, OVATJIMBA AND OVAZEMBA AGAINST THE OROKAWE DAM IN THE BAYNES MOUNTAINS
February 7, 2012
When Namibia wanted to build the Epupa dam, we objected.
Today, we object again, this time to the new plans of the Government of Namibia to build a dam, this time at Orokawe in our Baynes Mountains. We, the directly affected Indigenous Peoples day NO! We made in several meetings between the government and us our refusal also to this dam very clear. At the most important big meeting in Opuwo end of 2011 with high level governmental authorities we made again our collective objection very clear.
We don’t understand why we have to repeat ourselves over and over again, and the Government of Namibia is not listening to us, and is continuing to push for the construction of the dam without our consent. We collectively refused the money offered to those communities and families that would have to relocate.
If the government is going to build the dam they better kill us first before they do that. This is our land. We are the original inhabitants and true owners of the area that would be destroyed and flooded by the dam.
But since independence, the Government of Namibia has dispossessed us from our rights to our land, and our rights to decide what is being done with and on it.
That is a direct violation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), Article 4, 8(2b), 26 and 27.
Our traditional leaders, our representatives that we choose, are not recognized by the Government of Namibia, violating again the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Article 4, 5, 18, 19, 20, 32, 33, 34, 38. Because we are not allowed to choose our own representatives, and they are not recognized, we are made voiceless.
If they build the dam even so we strongly object to it, many of us will drown ourselves in the dam. Others of us will fight, and Namibia will find civil war in our area.
We don’t want an influx of strangers that will come with the construction of the dam. Many will settle, taking away our grazing areas as it happens already in other parts of our Kaokoland.
We don’t want the negative impact that comes with such large scale construction i.e.: Tart roads, large trucks, shops owned by strangers, foreign traders, big town, prostitution, crime, theft, diseases, and the loss and destruction of land, and the flooding of our graveyards of our ancestors.
We don’t want the river being blocked. Water is life. The fish, turtles and crocodiles will suffer. Some may die.
It is not only us objecting to this dam. The people from Angola that would be affected by the dam strongly object to it as well.
We demand that the Government of Namibia halts immediately any further plans to construct the Baynes Site dam without our free, prior and informed consent.
We request that Namibia allows the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights and fundamental freedoms of Indigenous Peoples to visit us.
We insist that the president of Namibia, the Minister of mines and Energy, the Ombudsman and other relevant high level officials conduct a meeting with us without delay, in our area, on our soil. But without police and military forces that we don’t want here. (UNDRIP Article 30)
We have the right to be fully informed. (UNDRIP Article 13, 18, 19)
In the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples that was adopted by Namibia it is clearly stated in Article 10, that we should not be forcibly removed and relocated from our land and territory. Article 32 states that the government must consult and cooperate in good faith with us to obtain our free and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting us and our land.
We have the right to our land (UNDRIP Article 26, 27)
This Declaration of the most affected tribes if the dam would be build is signed by us, the Chiefs of the area in question, and their Senior Councilors and our respected community Elders.
Chief Hikuminae Kapika, area Epupa and Omuhonga
Chief Tjinae Tjingee, area Otjikojo
Elder from Omuhonga, Kambiriyere Kapika
Elder from Omuhonga, Motjimbika Mutambo
Senior Councilor Muhapika Munjombara, area Epupa
Senior Councilor Matumbuyani Kapika, area Omuhonga
Senior Councilor Yapimbiyapo Tyaombe, area Omuhonga
Senior Councilor Yararaike Tjingee, area Omuhonga
Senior Councilor Vatako Hembinda, area Omuhoro
Senior CouncilorVatundauka Ngumbi, area Omuhonga
Senior Councilor Mbasekama Ngombe, area Omuhonga
Senior Councilor Mbyangue Tjiposa, area Okanguati
To download the original signed Himba Declaration against the Orokawe Dam, click here:
PHOTOS of the Himba leaders in Omuhonga signing their Declaration
PHOTOS of theHuman Rights meeting in Omuhonga that resulted in their Declaration against the dam.