Angula Warns Tricky Farmers

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By William J. Mbangula Ondeshifiilwa – Prime Minister Nahas Angula says commercial landowners who employ dirty tricks to frustrate the government’s land expropriation policies may face drastic steps in future. The Prime Minister issued the warning when he addressed the 29th Cassinga commemoration ceremony at Ondeshifiilwa in Ohangwena Region last Friday, May 4. Some cheeky farmers have developed the habit of selling their farms under false pretences, claiming that they are bankrupt. Others register their farms as close corporations. Transactions handled this way are likely to lead to these farms being identified for resettlement by the government. But some of the farmers refuse to sell such farms to the government for the resettlement of landless Namibians. According to the Prime Minister, such farmers normally declare themselves bankrupt while at the same time they arrange auctions where foreign buyers with fat cheques come to buy the land. They also register the farms as close corporations, whereby shares are allocated to individuals including foreigners. The Prime Minister cautioned that should the government in the future take drastic steps against them, the culprits should never complain. He said: “Some people like to complain about the situation in Zimbabwe, but such people should also take into consideration that the behaviour of certain people who own land, forces governments to take drastic action to redress land imbalances. If the farmers who are tricking the government find themselves at the receiving end, they should never cry or complain, neither should they regret what happens to them.” He urged all Namibians to defeat such tendencies by acting with a common purpose. He noted that the government was ready to come up with policies that would leave no room for such activities by uncooperative farmers. After supreme sacrifices by the fallen heroes and heroines, the Prime Minister pointed out, it was totally unacceptable that the main portion of Namibia’s natural resources such as copper, fish, diamonds, uranium and others, were still in the hands of foreigners. Such sacrifices must be honoured and dignified by putting them in the context of fighting current challenges of poverty, diseases and unemployment in order to create a strong foundation of which future generations will be proud. The Premier reminded his audience that Cassinga day should be remembered for what it is, a day on which to pay homage and tribute to the heroes and heroines who died for the liberation of the country. Such sacrifices started way back -in 1886 when Chief of the Mbanderu, Nicodemus Nguvauava, and Chief Kavikunua Kahimemua were hanged by German colonialists; the 1904 Herero genocide; 1959 Old location massacre and others which followed such as Oshatotwa 1976; Cassinga 1978; Oshikuku 1982, and many more. Said the Premier: “Such gallant sons and daughters of Namibia are the real owners of the national anthem, national flag and the constitution of the Republic of Namibia. Their blood, as we say in our national anthem, waters our freedom.” He paid tribute to those who led stiff resistance against colonial occupation such as Jacob Marengo, Hendrick Witbooi, Mandume Ndemufayo, Nehale Lya Mpingana, Sam Nujoma, Hifikepunye Pohamba and others. The occasion at Ondeshifiilwa in Engela constituency was held at the site where 21 Swapo fighters who died in April 1989 were buried. Some of the guerrillas who participated in the Ondeshifiilwa battle and Natalia Naunyango, the owner of the land where the fighting took place, were not given a chance to speak, despite being personally present at the commemorations on Friday. The history of the Ondeshifiilwa event, a village located about 30 km north of Oshakati, was instead narrated, to the dismay of some people, by the Councillor of Ongenga Leonard Shimutwikeni. One of the former Swapo fighters Josephat Mundilo, alias Ben, told New Era how he was disappointed that no chance was given to him to address the audience. He is one of the survivors of the battles which erupted shortly after the implementation of Resolution 435 on April 1,1989 between Swapo fighters and then apartheid South African colonial forces. Others who participated in the well-attended commemoration were Swapo veteran Mzee Simon Kaukungwa, Ohangwena Governor Usko Nghaamwa, regional and local councillors, and traditional and church leaders. Apart from the Prime Minister, the Queen of Ovakwanyama, Martha Nelumbu, also laid a wreath on the mass grave here.