Where to with AR?

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Land activist Job Amupanda

Windhoek

It is unclear whether the leaders of the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) movement will continue their confrontational land activism within the confines of Swapo, given that their tactics on resolving the land question was one of the main reasons they were irregularly expelled from the ruling party last year.

In addressing the land issue, Swapo has taken on a more gradualistic approach to the growing demands of landless Namibians, while the AR insists on radical immediate solutions to the problem.

Job Amupanda, Dimbulukweni Nauyoma and George Kambala were last week told in court that they can return to Swapo after being thrown into the political wilderness by the party leadership close to a year ago.

At the time the three, under the banner of AR, were involved in a much-publicised illegal occupation of a prime plot in Kleine Kuppe, which did not go down well with Swapo.

Following an extensive public tit-for-tat between the two, Swapo eventually showed them the door, but did not however follow due procedure. Thus leading to the High Court setting aside the decision and ordering the reinstatement of the membership of the three, plus that of former youth leader Elijah Ngurare.

Commentators said they do not foresee problems between the party and the four men on the issue of AR, while some say it will be ideal for the party to allow them to continue with their land activism.

Yesterday, Swapo told New Era that now with the four back in its stable, it will not interfere with their extra activities and will not tell them what to do outside the perimeters of the party.

Amupanda said the AR has a target, is committed to that target and will not abandon it until completion.

“I will be involved with AR, conceptualising, continuing to make sure this issue of land is resolved. We do not foresee any crisis whatsoever,” Amupanda said.

“We have a pending programme with the president [Hage Geingob] which needs 100 percent commitment,” said the AR leader.

He continued: “I must be drunk to leave the struggle of the landless people because of a judgement. If we decide to disengage the AR it will mean that we were only looking out for ourselves and not the people.”

Swapo secretary general Nangolo Mbumba said that the party would not dictate to Amupanda, Nauyoma and Kambala what to do with their lives.

“We are not here to judge or to decide on what other activities they are to get involved in. If there are any other activities, it will not be for the party to prescribe to them,” said Mbumba.

Professor of Politics at the University of Namibia, Lesley Blaauw, is of the opinion that the AR agenda is not contrary to government’s efforts to address the land issue.

“They can assist government with the issue of land. They are concerned with a particular issue and it will indeed be ideal for government to get their input,” said Blaauw.

“There will be wisdom in them to continue with AR but within the confines of the rules and regulations that guide Swapo Party.”

Political commentator Victor Tonchi says there is a distinction between government and Swapo Party.

“This is democracy and it must be impressed on everybody. Although the party assuming power will follow its developmental agenda, it is very important for the government to be separated from the party,” noted Tonchi.

“The activities of government are different from that of the party. The AR struck a deal with government and it is up to the party to decide on how they will deal with this,” said Tonchi.

He added: “Their approach in AR is not contrary to, or necessarily against, government. But it is up to Geingob as the acting president of Swapo how he deals with them. “

Last year, AR suspended a planned nationwide land grab after striking a deal with Geingob and his government for the servicing of 200 000 residential plots. However, Geingob announced during his state of the nation address that his current administration will only deliver 26 000 serviced plots by 2020.

 

 

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