11 October 2017

Namibia: Land Reform Ministry Releases 2016 Resettlement List

LAND reform ministry spokesperson Chrispin Matongela last week revealed a list of resettlement beneficiaries for 2016 in a bid to dispel perceptions of bias and corruption in resettlement processes.

The resettlement beneficiary list has become a bone of contention and controversy between government and land activists over the last few months and public calls for its release have been met with resistance from the ministry.

Accusations and suspicions have been voiced that since the beginning of the resettlement programme certain ethnic groups have been disproportionately favoured for resettlement across the country, at the expense of locals who remained landless.

However, Matongela has rubbished claims that government has been biased when resettling people and released the resettlement list June to October 2016 to The Namibian to make this point.

The 2016 list, which shows that 47 individuals were resettled in that five month period, indicates that only 12 beneficiaries were from the northern regions, specifically from Zambezi, Kavango East and West, Oshana, Ohangwena and Oshikoto.

The list shows that the majority of those resettled in that period were from central and southern regions, including Kunene, Erongo, Otjozondjupa, Omaheke and //Karas regions.

The Namibian recently reported that land reform minister Utoni Nujoma refused to answer questions in parliament about the resettlement list, the second land conference and the restitution of ancestral land, which were raised by Swanu's Usutuaije Maamberua. However, Maamberua's attempts to table a motion to discuss the issues were voted down by the Swapo majority.

Matongela said this was because of the postponement of the second land conference and a demand by the opposition last year that land issues not be discussed before the land conference.

Yesterday, Henny Seibeb of the Landless People's Movement labelled Matongela's claims as an attempt to sugar-coat longstanding problems with government's resettlement programme.

He said although a request has been made to see the complete resettlement list, resettlement authorities have not been forthcoming.

One of the latest officials to request the resettlement list was Ombudsman John Walters, who was unreachable for comment yesterday.

Walters told the media last week that his requests have not been responded to, but Matongela denied that such a request was received from the Ombudsman's office.

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