No fishing quotas for MPs – LPM

19 May 2020 | Politics

NAMPA

WINDHOEK



The Landless People's Movement (LPM) will push for the amendment of the Marine Resources Act to ensure broader participation of the masses.

For LPM, the time is ripe for fishing rights to be nationalised.

LPM's position was made public by its Member of Parliament (MP) and spokesperson, Utaara Mootu, in the capital on Monday.

The party convened a press conference to unveil its chief priorities when Parliament resumes later this month.

According to Mootu, in its current form, the Marine Resources Act, which amongst others governs the allocation of fishing rights and quotas, only serves the interests of politicians and their close associates – to the detriment of the majority of the populace.

“We will try to amend the act. We are going to look into the amendments done by the former corrupt criminals who are currently in jail,” Mootu charged, adding that the party will look into “the type of elitist reforms and policies” and the “bourgeoisie system” it creates around the quotas.

The movement said MPs who currently hold fishing rights must relinquish them with immediate effect.

“This is to allow all Namibians to be given the opportunity to participate in fishing quotas,” she added.



Nationalise rights

In essence, LPM wants fishing rights to be nationalised to enable the government to become the main custodian and rights holder on behalf of the Namibian people.

“This is to avoid something similar to the Fishrot scandal that has robbed our people,” Mootu pointed out.

Her remarks come after a group of six men – including two former Cabinet ministers – were arrested for allegedly receiving bribes amounting to more than N$150 million in return for preferential access to Namibia's rich fishing grounds.

Among other amendments, it has been reported that former fisheries and justice ministers Bernhardt Esau and Sacky Shanghala changed the law in September 2015 to give powers to the fisheries minister to dish out fishing quotas at will under the guise of governmental objectives.



Broad-based approach

In the past, political party Swanu also pushed for fishing quotas to be given to regions instead of individuals, saying a broad-based approach would benefit more Namibians.

Over the years, media reports highlighted how MPs, senior government officials and their families benefited from Namibia's fishing industry.

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