Namibia: Nationalise Our Mineral Resources, Agricultural Land - Amushelelo

A GROUP of Namibians called the Black People Economic Emancipation Association are demanding that the government nationalise the country's mineral resources, as well as agricultural land.

They also want the abolishment of the minimum wage, which should be replaced with a "living wage".

Activist Michael Amushelelo, who led a protest at Okuryangava in the capital yesterday,

said Namibians had high hopes after independence and believed it would bring prosperity, happiness, and economic freedom.

However, that promise was betrayed by "greedy, selfish money-mongers, whose greed is yet to be satisfied".

"We demand that all our natural mineral resources are nationalised, especially the mines, so that the wealth of our country is shared equally among all Namibians.

"We want all the productive land to be nationalised, to grow our food production in order to ensure that as a nation we become self-sufficient in food production so that no Namibian dies from hunger while we have productive land," he said.

Amushelelo demanded the abolishment of the minimum wage and the introduction of a living wage.

"A living wage would ensure that Namibian workers are paid wages that can sustain average lives. Our people are dying, malnourished, and overworked while earning the purported 'minimum wage'.

"We demand the urgent ban of labour brokers, and the criminalisation of the labour-brokering process in the whole of Namibia," he said.

Amushelelo, on behalf of the group, said they also want the abolishment of Article 31of the constitution, which addresses the president's immunity in civil and criminal proceedings.

"If the presidents steal, loot, or mismanage public funds, they should be punished just like any other ordinary citizen.

"We will and should not allow 'Animal Farm' tendencies where some animals feel they are more important than others," he said.

National Assembly secretary Lydia Kandetu, who received the group's petition, said the parliament belongs to the people, which includes young people.

"I want to tell you that you are not lost.

"When you are aggrieved and not feeling well, you take your issues to the parliament, and this document is going to the parliament," she said.

Kandetu said the petition has to go through a process, and if finalised it would be presented in the parliament.

The country recently recorded at least 1,6 million people living in poverty, of which the majority are previously disadvantaged Namibians, according to the World Bank.

In their petition yesterday, the protesters said more than 1,2 million Namibian young people are unemployed.

The Namibian previously reported that 12 000 workers were retrenched in 2020 due to Namibia's slumping economy.

One of the protesters, who only identified himself as Robben (26), yesterday said: "I got 32 points in Grade 12 with a C in English, but today I am eating from the dustbin. I did not choose this life.

"I have never had a job and it pains me that people without Grade 12 are working.

"We are tired of hunger. I now survive from the municipality trucks when they are dumping trash," he said.

The Black People Economic Emancipation Association says it is fighting for the many Namibians who are economically excluded and exploited.

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