Nama on warpath over skewed land ownership

04 June 2019 | Cultural

Land and genocide activist Sima Luipert has criticised government's lack of commitment to address skewed land ownership in the country.

She said government's resettlement programme continues to use the same criteria criticised by President Hage Geingob at the second national land conference held last year.

Luipert also criticised the newly appointed ancestral land commission, saying it appears to have no focused goal or objectives.

“While the ancestral land commission holds trust-building meetings with stakeholders, huge tracts of ancestral land is sold to Mexicans,” she said, referring to Mexican billionaire Alberto Baillères' pending purchase of the Erindi Private Game Reserve.

Luipert was speaking during a panel discussion on genocide and reparations titled 'The Nama Genocide and Restorative Justice' during the second annual Nama Cultural Festival this past weekend.

She said it is no coincidence that government has been resolute in terms of dodging any calls for an audit of the resettlement programme since independence in 1990.

Luipert also believes that government's non-commitment to address land issues is steadily fanning the flames of national tension.

“We shall use all means at our disposal to prevail. Besides the legal route, we know where our ancestral land is. In our book, ancestral land will remain the deal-breaker to national unity. President Geingob holds the key to resolve ancestral land honestly or take responsibility for the looming disintegration of Namibia's first republic,” she said.

Luipert added that the Nama Traditional Leaders Association (NTLA) believes that repentance must be shown, and is pushing for all reparations, including land.

“Landlessness and political, economic and social marginalisation is directly linked to the genocide. The ongoing negotiations behind closed doors, without the acknowledged and authentic representation of victim communities, cannot continue. Government can never claim to represent communities in the diaspora,” she said.

Luipert added that the exclusion of these communities violates the parliamentary resolution on the genocide, as well as the spirit of the declaration of the 2001 World Conference Against Racism in Durban.

JEMIMA BEUKES

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