THE Congress of Democrats (CoD) has made a scathing attack on the Government's implementation of the land reform and resettlement programme, which it said is characterised by greed and avarice by "an undeserving political elite and their cronies".
The party was reacting to recent revelations made in a Kavango court by Ukwangali Traditional Authority chief Sitentu Mpasi that no fewer than 20 national leaders - including President Hifikepunye Pohamba - had received land from the traditional authority while more than 30 communal farmers from Oshikoto and Ohangwena were chased off the communal land.
The secretary general of the CoD, Tsudao Gurirab, said the situation in Kavango, based on Mpasi's statements in court, indicates that things have deteriorated into Namibia's version of the lawless 'Wild West'.
"[Except] in this case the miscreants are not cowboys but Swapo politicians and their cronies with their ugly noses in the trough."
These politicians are denying thousands of the rural poor access to land and thus from a source of income.
He concluded that the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement ought to be abolished because it does not fulfil its mandate - to provide access to land primarily to the poor and dispossessed.
"This was for the reasons of colonial exclusion and dispossession in the southern and central parts of our country. A properly conceived land policy would, therefore, in the first instance consider resettling communities who live in hovels [in] the south, the returnees forgotten at Gam and reserves created by the Germans in Omaheke, the San, [and so on]," argued Gurirab.
Instead, he said, Government is turning a blind eye to the illegal fencing of communal land by Swapo Party politicians "and their hangers-on".
"[This] Government could not be bothered. It also means that the colonial authorities catered better for access to rural land by the poor than this government," was Gurirab's damning assessment.
"The Treasury picks up the tab for the invasion of rural Namibia and disenfranchisement of the poor by the Swapo Central Committee and its supporters. For the displaced wretched souls must now be resettled on farms bought by the State, for example in Grootfontein from Mr Koekemoer. So in fact government is buying land for the elite," Gurirab said.
The Minister of Lands and Resettlement, Alpheus !Naruseb, would not comment on the CoD statement.
"My existence is not justified by a statement made by the CoD or any other political party," !Naruseb fumed. "Ministries are not established by the CoD; they are constitutionally constituted by the President."
The CoD called on civil society and religious leaders to join the party's condemnation of the apparently random land allocations to the politically well-connected.