12 October 2018

Namibia: Geingob Honours Chief Hosea Kutako

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WINDHOEK- President Hage Geingob gave a directive to Cabinet on Wednesday to convert the dwelling of the pioneer UN petitioner the late Chief Hosea Kutako in Aminius in Omaheke Region to be converted into a national heritage site.

President Geingob gave the directive on Wednesday during a Cabinet Session to a post-mortem and review of the resolutions of the recently concluded Second National Land Conference.

Chief Hosea Kutako took active part in the Herero war of resistance against German colonialism. He joined the war in 1904 as a young man.

Geingob said the dwelling place of the late chief should be renovated and a shrine in remembrance of his heroic role towards the Namibian struggle should be erected.

He further directed the Ministry of Land Reform to identify a farm or two adjacent to Aminius to lessen pressure for land in the Aminius communal area.

In the same vein, he ordered that the Okahandja cemetery should be renovated, and key graves be upgraded to national monuments.

"A task team should be set-up to identify a few historic shrines from communities who were dispossessed for construction of memorial sites. The principle of inclusivity must be adhered to in all our undertakings," Geingob said.

According to him, he will announce in due course a commission that will look into the matter of ancestral land and restitution. He emphasised it is critical that the terms of reference of the commission are well crafted to guide the work of the commission to be focused on the tasks at hand. Further, he said the work of such a commission should be evidence-based and enriched by international experience on this matter.

He revealed a retired judge or eminent person supported by five experts in relevant fields with secretarial support from the Law Reform and Development Commission and the presidency will head the commission.

In this regard, he said the Attorney General in consultation with the Presidential Affairs Minister is directed to come up with draft terms of reference, and proposed candidates to be appointed as commissioners.

This he directed must be submitted to him by 16 October 2018. Geingob said he was moved by the depth of skills of Namibians at the Second National Land Conference.

"I have no doubt that we will be able to appoint a formidable and inclusive team to the commission. We may also enrich the team with foreign expertise in an advisory capacity. On the whole, I urge OMAs [offices, ministries and agencies] to work very closely with available expertise in our institutions of higher learning. We have skills here and should not run to costly consultant elsewhere," he said.

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