ReconAfrica case: “A state capture”
Namibia faces all consequencesSome 30 people protested in front of the High Court in Windhoek on Tuesday in solidarity with the communities of the Kavango region, who have to pay legal fees of more than N$500 000.
“This is what state capture looks like. Because if the Namibian justice system cannot uphold the Namibian constitution, and defend its people, then clearly it is a state capture,” said Ina-Maria Shikongo of the Fridays for Future movement. According to her, the Namibian legal system is also violating the people’s constitutional rights by allowing a company that has on many occasions intimidated Namibian people.
Community member Muyemburuko Max, who took ReconAfrica to court, appealing their permits to further drill on communal land, said the oil company will one day just go back to Canada. “And we will remain in Namibia. Whatever damage they leave, we will face and they will have no part in the consequences.”
He continued by saying, that the Government has to remember that they are here for the people. “We voted for them to stand for the interest of the people, not the interest of their benefit,” he added.
The group is hoping to get the cost of paying the legal fees waived. While the case should have been heard in court on Tuesday, it was postponed to May. “We decided to still protest the matter because this was not a case the Kavango community should have lost in the first place.”
Several Namibian NGOs and environmentalists have expressed their solidarity with Kavango communities, and while they were hoping more people will join the fight, they were still hopeful. “We are here. Our voices will not be silenced,” Shikongo said.
ReconAfrica was granted licenses by the governments of Namibia and Botswana, giving them approximately 35 000 km2 to explore for oil and gas in the Kavango Basin. The petroleum agreements with Namibia and Botswana give ReconAfrica the exclusive right to obtain a 25-year production license. The company has already begun exploratory drilling and seismic surveys in Namibia in 2021 and applied for an extension of its Environmental Clearance Certificate (ECC) in 2022.