President Pohamba is a land baron
“Honourable chiefs, the land does not belong to you. If it used to, this has ceased on March 21, 1990.” These were the words of President Hifikepunye Pohamba at the Annual Meeting of the Council of Traditional Leaders at Ongwediva last year.
It was a tough message, uttered in a tone of authority at a time when traditional leaders were virtually donating land to their cronies uncontrolled – sometimes in return for huge favours.
This message was directed to all traditional authority leaders, including Hompa Sitentu Mpasi of Ukwangali.
Mpasi made startling claims last week during a hearing in the Kavango Region, in which he revealed that he gave land to Pohamba and a large number of his aides and Cabinet ministers.
If the Hompa’s claims are anything to go by, then Namibia is indeed a land awash in double standards. For years now, Mpasi has been fighting the influx of Oshiwambo-speaking farmers who invaded his area in search for grazing.
Back then, we understood and were made to believe that this is a chief who has the best interests of his subjects at heart.
He said he did not want Aawambo grazing in his area because his people also rely on that land to feed their animals. In fairness, this was a valid argument that had its roots in wisdom and compassion.
But to chase away Aawambo farmers and replace them with prominent politicians from the same tribe reeks of hypocrisy at its worst.
We go back to the words of the President in the opening paragraph. If the land belongs to the State, as Pohamba rightly pointed out, which organ of the State granted him land in Ukwangali?
How legitimate was the transaction?
And, for the umpteenth time, why should some Namibians own multiple plots of at the expense of their fellow citizens who own no land at all?
President Pohamba has land in Okanghudi where his traditional homestead is. He has a farm in the Oshikoto Region and now accepts land from Hompa Mpasi?
The Anti-Corruption Commission needs to seriously investigate how land is being administered in the Kavango Region.
Prominent politicians and some heads of the country’s security apparatuses have already received land from the Ukwangali Traditional Authority.
Many original inhabitants of that area are without land and the President has won the race in acquiring some ahead of them.
Mpasi said he gave land as a token of appreciation after Pohamba pushed the Aawambo farmers out of the area. Did he push them out so as to take their place?