12 June 2018

Namibia: Swartbooi Threatens Farm Invasions

Windhoek — The Landless People's Movement (LPM) has threatened to take the law into own hands and invade farms if the upcoming land conference, slated for October, fails to fully address the land question.

Addressing the media yesterday, LPM leader Bernardus Swartbooi - a former deputy minister of land reform - said the movement is not convinced that the land conference is 'well thought through.'

"Any resolution of the land question must include urban land, as well as the removal of the red-line. Therefore, Angola will have to be included in this land conference processes," he stressed.

"Failure to address the land question according to our wishes will result in major land invasions, starting with absentee landlords' farms and state lands, including Etosha, Waterberg area and town lands and so forth," said Swartbooi, who claims to have supporters in 11 regions of the 14 regions in the country.

He said LPM will organise seminars in focal groups in preparation for the land conference, with documentation planned with various key stakeholders to land.

He said soon they will engage some patriotic pan-Africanist lawyers to assist with pro bono work as they announce and implement with various stakeholders, the invasion period, especially from early 2019.

"NWR, TransNamib, Namdeb and other parastatals must also start giving back land," he said.

"We want this conference also to ensure that certain income brackets are given urban land free of charge," he added.

Furthermore, Swartbooi said as a movement, they have decided to provide capacity to their growing structures across the country, as well as to their members as time goes on.

To this end, he said they have decided to establish a School of Ideas and Progress.

"The aim is to sharpen our base with the appropriate ideological and activist tools, and to enhance leadership quality and response to the challenges that face this country," he said.

In August and September, Swartbooi said they are undertaking a deliberate policy educational and exposure excursion to South Africa, to educate their actionist on agrarian reform, the agro-economy, economy in general and political studies, as well as workshoping on women and natural resources.

He said these lectures will be conducted by various professors at their request, and will be an annual event for their leaders.

"This will be a detailed and thorough week-long lecture series conducted by experts that are well-established and respected in their fields, and we are excited about this," he said.

Swartbooi says they have started with pre-policy drafting consultations on key areas of the economy, including major tax reform, as well as various areas of education, industrialisation, governance structures of state, reform of local and regional authority system, parliamentary reform and the massive reduction of the size and domain of the central government.

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