23 August 2017

Namibia: Land Conference Must Address Ancestral Land - SWANU

FORMER SWANU president Rihupisa Kandando says the second national land conference must draw up long-lasting solutions to the ancestral land issue.

He said this during the launch of the party's position paper to be presented at the land conference next month.

The second national land conference is set to review about 24 resolutions of the first national land conference, held in 1991, in an attempt to find solutions to the burning land question.

Kandando said large-scale land dispossession affected Namibians in the Omaheke, //Karas, Hardap, Otjozondjupa and Khomas regions under German and South African colonial rule.

Therefore, land expropriation was necessary as a form of restitution.

According to the party's position paper, the land conference should come up with solutions under various themes, and should deal with issues such as a progressive land tax, providing loan guarantees, and introducing new regulations for land sales and leasing.

"Government may intervene in the land distribution structure to solve specific natural resources problems, alleviate problem situations in small communities, or take advantage of land acquisition opportunities such as the sale of estates," states the Swanu document.

Swanu's parliamentarian Usutuaije Maamberua said the objective of the land conference discussions should be centred around giving back land to the people in order to achieve the equitable redistribution of wealth and resources.

He said Swanu's stance on the land question was that approaches to "ancestral land must be harmonised, and dispossessed people must be restituted".

He explained that there were two types of ancestral land: "One that was not lost, such as the northern regions; and one that was lost, such as the central parts of the country".

Therefore, certain farms in the central and southern regions should be expropriated for restitution purposes.

"The second national land conference shall also have to explore modalities of how land expropriated by Germany through genocidal activities and all other colonial machinations will be returned to the descendants of those who were dispossessed and displaced," said Maamberua.

Swanu president Tangeni Iiyambo said there was a need to change political ideologies (from capitalism to socialism) in order to address the issues of inequality in land redistribution, poverty, and restoring the lost dignity of Namibians.

He said Swanu was prepared to transform and educate the public about the importance of the socialist revolution "by teaching the virtues of self-reliance, confidence and selfdetermination".

"We deserve to inculcate dignity back into our people. Under socialism, Swanu will place Namibia and its natural resources under the direct control of the hitherto oppressed masses of our people," said Iiyambo.

He criticised government for not releasing the list of resettled farmers, saying it was clear testimony that some government officials were resettling their preferred beneficiaries.

"That is probably why the PS of the land reform ministry insensitively remarked that releasing the list will cause tribalism, as it is sensitive," he said, adding that "government deserves to be reminded that it is not ruling over morons".

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