Who owns the land?

The quest by many communities to claim ancestral land has been made clear but the jury is still out on whether government will entertain such claims.

17 February 2017 | Local News

The only way to address the land issue diligently is to acknowledge ancestral land, said All People's Party President, Ignatius Shixwameni.

Speaking after President Hage Geingob opened the Fifth Session of the Sixth Parliament this week Tuesday, Shixwameni said ancestral land cannot be ignored when allocating certain farms and deciding who benefits from land reform and resettlement programmes.

Opening parliament later on Tuesday, Geingob said the land issue must be dealt with with diligence, sincerity and clarity to avoid igniting an explosion of chaos in the country.

The 2017 theme is 'Parliament working towards the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals'.

Shixwameni added that the First National Land Conference made a historic mistake in 1991, which was to wipe out and not entertain all claims of ancestral land.

“History is there and documented. It has a list of who was there and who was evicted from their ancestral land and how those lands were unproductive,” he stated.

Also commenting on the issue, Swanu President, Usutuaije Maamberua said the first thing investors will ask when they come to Namibia is whether the land issue has been resolved.

“As long as the answer is land in Namibia is still under dispute, then we can forget about investment, industrialisation, peace and harmony,” Maamberua said.

He added that government had 27 years to resolve the land issue. However, failure to do so has resulted in frustration of the people, said Maamberua.

He noted that government is now calling people who are frustrated and those who are fairly and constitutionally demanding their resources, troublemakers, unpatriotic and tribalist.

“But if we continue on that path, we are not going to see peace and stability in the country,” he stated.

When President Hage Geingob opened the first Cabinet meeting of the year he said the land issue is being used by discontented individuals as a fuse they hope will ignite an explosion of chaos in Namibia.

“Come and tell us who is the ancestral owner of this country. Nobody is mentioning the San people when talking about ancestral land, so who are we referring to?” Geingob asked.

He said those who are holding gatherings on the premise of ancestral land, should come with proposals, which are acceptable within the context of a united, free and reconciled Namibia.

Geingob explained he has engaged the land reform minister, the vice-president and prime minister before announcing the postponement of the tabling of the Land Bill during the opening of the 2017 legal year last week.

The postponement follows an outcry from the public for the land reform ministry to consult the nation and for the minister to not re-table the Land Bill before the second national land conference scheduled for September.

The president said it is pertinent that everybody approach the land issue with utmost sincerity and clarity, adding that there is nothing wrong with belonging to tribes, but “let us avoid placing 'ism' at the end of the word tribal”.

He explained there is no separatism in the Namibian House. “It is a house where all areas are open to all inhabitants.

“It is strange that certain people are displaying a great determination to ridicule the concepts which we have put in place in order to accelerate our development, let us disappoint them by succeeding,” Geingob requested.

NAMPA

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