Media misinforming nation on land – Tweya

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Otjiwarongo

Educative journalism has seemingly gone to the dogs – or at least this is the impression Information and Communication Technology Minister Tjekero Tweya is getting when following local media reports regarding land delivery in the country.

Instead, Tweya observed, the educational element of journalism has been replaced with “inciteful reporting” which perpetuates the belief that there is nothing illegal about occupying land by force, as recently claimed by the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) movement. Following its legal consultative forum held in Windhoek recently, AR representatives claimed there is no law that prohibits the planned mass occupation of land – for which the deadline of July 31 has been set.

AR says the Squatters Proclamation AG 21 of 1985, which prohibits people from occupying land illegally and allows for the demolition of structures, would not withstand a legal challenge on its constitutional validity.

Speaking in Otjiwarongo yesterday, Tweya rapped the press over the knuckles for perceived lack of effort in educating the nation, by uncritically publishing –and thus propagating – claims that no law exists to prevent illegal land occupations.

“I therefore would like to register my disappointment on the inciteful reporting with regard to land delivery that we have seen over the past days or weeks, which imply that Namibia does not have laws regulating land ownership,” Tweya said at a workshop of the parliamentary standing committee on ICT.

“This kind of reporting implies that Namibia is a lawless country, which is not governed by laws and regulations.” He called this type of reporting sensationalist and tantamount to promoting lawlessness in the country.

“It would therefore be wise for the media to educate and inform the public about the existence of these laws, in order to support government’s efforts to [lawfully] address the shortage of land and housing in the country,” he said.

AR leaders and their followers seem to have reached a point of no return as far as their plans to occupy land are concerned – a situation that has prompted the country’s law enforcement agencies to prepare for any eventuality.

Incidentally, it was also at Otjiwarongo that Namibian Police Inspector General, Lieutenant-General Sebastian Ndeitunga met with regional police commanders this week to discuss strategies on how to handle any lawlessness that may erupt.

Ndeitunga vowed that his forces would not tolerate anarchy emanating from the planned protests – a stance repeated by Tweya yesterday.

“While recognising the need for every Namibian to own a piece of land, which he or she can call home, government cannot allow anarchy and lawlessness to disturb the peace and stability of our country,” the ICT minister said.

Tweya also implored members of parliament to enact laws that would ensure that the proverbial ‘Namibian house’ is based upon the policy of inclusivity.

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