'Youth makes land political'

At the public consultations held in Outapi, farmers expressed concern over the available space in communal areas while the governor lashed out at the youth for politicising the land issue.

19 June 2017 | Local News

The governor of Kunene, Angelika Muharukua, says that the youth who claim to be fighting for land are not doing it in the interest of landless Namibians, but rather for their own “selfish political agendas” which she said must come to an end.

She was speaking to Namibian Sun on the sidelines of the consultative workshop on the Revised National Resettlement Policy held in Outapi in the Omusati Region on Friday.

Muharukua is of the opinion that the youth are not sincere when they ask questions about land because they are discussing urban land and not rural, farmland.

She also made reference to this during the meeting where the majority of attendees were elders. She questioned why the youth, whom she says are insulting elders labelling them as illiterate and uneducated on social media platforms, are not present when policies of this nature are to be discussed by members of the public.

“I know the Namibian youth and those that say they are fighting for land, they are not doing it for the people, they are doing it for positions…. If you look around why don't you see them here? It is because they are fighting for Windhoek land only,” Muharukua said.

“They are there de-bushing in Windhoek. Why can't they also go to their hometowns and villages and de-bush there? This is why I say they are not fighting the land issue the way they should. The youth wing of Swapo used to fight for development and not what we are currently seeing. They must stop politicising the land issue,” she added.

Muharukua warned that if Namibians are not careful of being misled and used by those who claim to be doing things in the peoples' interest, Namibia will turn out like South Africa where peace is not guaranteed.

“If you look at the situation in South Africa, Namibia is better off but if we are not careful we will end up like them and we know how it happened there,” Muharukua said.

“We should first develop our minds and then we can talk of development,” she reiterated.



Revised policy

The consultation presented the revised policy for resettlement to the public and forms part of a series of meetings being held across the country. The new policy aims at redressing the imbalance pertaining to land distribution as a result of the 2001 policy. Many members of the public at the meeting raised a number of concerns pertaining to the objectives of the document.

After the consulting firm Kabbe Investments had presented the document, they asked for inputs from the attendees. Muharukua indicated that it was unfair for a document to be made available on the day it should be discussed saying proper preparations were supposed to be done.

“This document is thick and people were supposed to have been given this document earlier for them to come prepared which will see meaningful contributions made,” she said.

She therefore suggested that the people take along the policy and if they have any concerns they should submit them to the correct authorities following the proper channels.

Her point was well taken as the consultant indicated that the deadline for inputs is 23 June.

Meanwhile, there were some that shared their thoughts including the king of the Ongandjera Traditional Authority, Johannes Mupiya, who indicated that there is no more communal land above the red line.

He said that those with a high number of livestock should be resettled in other parts of the country to give space to those farmers that are just starting out or have a smaller number of animals.

“Even if you decide to give 7 000 hectares to farmers for resettlement in the north, it will not work, because there are farmers with too many livestock. In fact, there is no land in the north for farmers anymore,” King Mupiya said.

Another concern raised was the fact that farmers are required to sell their livestock if they are to be resettled on the southern side of the red line. The farmers say this is wrong and causes them to incur huge losses.

“I want to know what does this policy have to say regarding the sale our livestock here if one is to be resettled because if they can be quarantined and be declared disease free, why can't I transport them to where I am to be resettled?” a former councilor asked.

Suggestions were also made that in the future when documents need to be scrutinised by members of the public, they need to be distributed in advance for constructive contributions to be made.



KENYA KAMBOWE

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