In one of his works of poetry, entitled ‘Questions From a Worker Who Reads’, Bertolt Brecht challenges us to read and analyse, rather than merely accept a single version as correct.
In any society, collective wisdom is better than individual wisdom. Similarly, our leaders’ wisdom is ours, because we sense our wisdom in theirs.
On April 2,, 2014 the SWAPO Party Youth League (SPYL), through its Department of Economic Affairs under Shawana Nashinge convened a Young Professionals Public Dialogue on “The land Question and Public Expenditure Through an Efficient Revenue System” at a Windhoek hotel.
This dialogue provided another platform for the youth to jointly reflect on the fundamental challenges that constrain the advancement of genuine economic emancipation, especially when it comes to the means of production and ownership of land in general.
This was also done to share practical measures and strategies that would advance possible ways to address the land question in Namibia, particularly among the youth and to exchange information on the supportive role that young people can provide to their government through the Swapo Party.
In attendance on that night was Governor Ipumbu Shiimi and Madam Monica Geingos (our current First Lady) – both members of the Swapo thinktank – former Director in the Bank of Namibia, Ben Biwa, Agribank General Manager, Shali Shindume, Kondjeni Kafita and Shipululo Amupanda, members of the National Executive Committee of the SPYL at the time. Also in attendance was Paulus Emmanuel, regional secretary of the SPYL in Khomas.
Tjitunga Ngurare was in Botswana and tendered his apology. John Steytler, the current economic advisor to the President, couldn’t attend due to other commitments, but he gave his input in the planning phase.
It is important to reflect on these events as they happened and to make sure we capture history correctly with references, as this will assist in keeping the battle of ideas alive.
The SPYL has remained fully conscious of the importance of the land question as opening the way to addressing the current challenges faced by our people in both urban and rural areas. For this reason, it adopted the position that rather than celebrate the fact of the quandary facing the current impasse, it had the responsibility to assist government to extricate itself from the problems in this regard.
In the context of the strategic posture that SPYL had adopted, and as the ‘de facto’ reservoir of ideas it was incumbent to reach out to government and engage society on the conditions for the smooth transfer of land to people in both, rural and urban areas.
The collective view is and has always been that the lessons of the past will not escape us, that the previous generations of Komobumpi Kutako, Mandume Ndemufayo, Jonker Afrikaner, Mzee Kaukunga, Shafishuna Nuyoma and others of their generations bequeathed to us the tasks to build a country at peace with itself, to remain loyal to principle, whatever the difficulties and temptations, and to ensure that the organisational instruments we create will help us to create a Namibia that belongs to all of us.
Tjitunga Ngurare has been an outstanding representative of that vision. It’s within this context that expelling Ngurare will not solve the land question. Specifically, let us together reflect on the critically important matter of the achievement of Elijah Ngurare.
He serves on the boards of Namdeb, Namwater, Kalahari Holdings and National Planning, to name but a few. It is an extremely difficult task to find anyone in independent Namibia who has dedicated his time to the attainment of the ideals of Swapo in the manner that “Manongo” has applied himself.
How many doctoral scholars do you find that are in the fulltime employment of political parties? As a leftist he acted in the interest of the collective, with no care for the privileges that come with offices. The sacrifices he made and the example he set constitute an integral part of the ethos, which determines the sense and definition of youth patriotism in defining the relevant factors in the context of answering the land question.
To the elephant in the room: Affirmative Repositioning (AR). The Swapo Party policy posture on land reform is clear. Land reform and rejection of willing-buyer-willing-seller are resolutions and declarations of the Swapo Party Policy Conference of 2012.
The same was also resolved and declared as such by the SPYL congress of 2012. Moreover, the theme of the congress of the Swapo Party Elders Council of 2012 was also on land reform and made many resolutions that are clear on the path of action. The practical implementation has not seen the light of the day.
Article 16 (2) of the Namibian Constitution says government can expropriate land for public interest and not for willing seller willing buyer or “market-related reasons.” Nature does not allow a vacuum and AR was born.
Bring back the leader of young people. He is a part of the solution and his expulsion will not solve the land question.