Wanted: A nation of doers

18 December 2019 | Columns

Yesterday the ancestral land commission paid an umpteenth visit to President Hage Geingob to brief him on its activities so far.

Among others, the commission told the head of state that there exists a need to start a legal process to address the glaring land inequalities.

This echoes the remarks six years ago of then president Hifikepunye Pohamba, who said in an Al Jazeera interview that if the land question is not addressed soon, Namibia could endure a revolution, as patience over landlessness is wearing thin.

More than a year ago, Geingob convened a national land conference at which solutions were proposed on what is to be done to ensure the equitable distribution of land.

The first similar conference was held in 1991, at the dawn of our independence.

What has dominated the land discourse for the past 30 years is an admission that inequality of land ownership is heavily skewed in favour of previously advantaged citizens, who control 70% of productive land.

Talk after talk has not translated into any actual action to help redress the anomalies.

We have become a nation of spectators, rather than doers.

We fret about the inequalities in terms of land distribution, but do not take the necessary actions to reverse the situation.

We can talk about these anomalies until the cows come home, but as long as we remain without practical and decisive action, the cows would leave the kraal in the morning again without anything having changed.

It is yawn-triggering to listen to long sermons of how land is a burning issue every day from the very people whom we have assigned to change this situation for the better.

Land will not be addressed through talk shops, where long, copied speeches are delivered and biscuits are distributed among delegates who have already secured farms and prime properties for themselves.

If cheap talk was a sport, Namibia would be world champions. At empty waffling, we are up there with the best.

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