Hardap Regional Governor Esme Isaack has blamed the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) movement for the land grabbing chaos that erupted in Rehoboth yesterday, saying the movement instigated the incident.
Residents of Rehoboth got a rude awakening yesterday as early as 6am when scores of residents started grabbing land on the outskirts of Kuviku settlement at Block G. Some land grabbers got injured as confrontations with the police led to the use of rubber bullets, and some people were injured in the ensuing commotion.
Gunshots from the crowd were reportedly also heard during the fracas, and police say they are investigating who from the community discharged a weapon.
Police arrested six land grabbers including the AR movement activist in Rehoboth, Abes Kaibib. Police say as many as 300 people attempted to illegally occupy land.
Police spokesperson Inspector Slogan Matheus said that instructions from the inspector general, Lieutenant General Sebastian Ndeitunga, were that the police should stop whoever was trying to occupy land illegally.
“Such actions will lead to anarchy and chaos. He called upon all peace-loving Namibians to reject with contempt any actions taken by people who are trying to occupy land illegally,” Matheus said.
Yesterday afternoon Governor Isaack addressed residents in a radio broadcast on Radio Live Rehoboth station, in which she said the AR movement along with the Rehoboth-based Capricorn Radio station instigated the land grab.
“We do not have any agreements signed with AR and therefore those who are part of the movement should know that AR will not get any support from Hardap region,” said Isaack on radio while scores of residents stood at the entrance of the community radio station to listen to her broadcast.
‘Come outside and address us, why are you choosing the radio to address us,’ shouted residents from outside the radio station.
Isaack said the government is aware of the motives of AR to disrupt government programmes and create doubts about government’s efforts in the land-delivery process.
“Why is the AR movement targeting the south? It would be good if AR try their efforts in the north and show us an example how they have contributed positively to the land-delivery process,” said Isaack.
She accused the Capricorn radio station of creating division among the Baster community and other ethnic community groups in Rehoboth. “I am going to speak to the Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Tjekero Tweya, to make sure that this radio station is closed,” she added.
Isaack told listeners that the land-delivery process would be handled within the framework of government regulations and procedures, and will not favour specific groups or institutions, but would be to the benefit of all Namibians.
Dimbulikeni Nauyoma of the AR movement addressed residents after the radio announcement, telling them to prepare for a marathon fight.
“Go and prepare enough coffee, tea and enough ‘roosterbrood.’ We will not be backing up until we get what we want,” said Nauyoma, adding that he would have consultations with his lawyers and all relevant authorities.
“I will let you know after two hours, so go and wait for further instructions,” he told the crowd.
Inspector Matheus said about 100 people gathered at Kuviku settlement with tools to clean the area and allocate to themselves residential erven. The people gradually increased to an estimated 300.
“The police were deployed to the area just to maintain law and order and the police instructed those gathered there to disperse and leave the area because they were unlawfully and illegally in that area,” he said.
“We noticed a wanted suspect, wanted on a pending warrant for a traffic violation. We moved in to arrest this person. The crowd that had gathered there attempted to prevent the police from arresting the person. A fracas ensued between those who attempted to grab land and the police but we managed to successful arrest the person and disperse the crowd,” he said.
He said that in the process the police used rubber bullets to help disperse the crowd. “We did not receive any report of casualties, or of any person who sustained serious injuries, neither any report of serious damage to property in that area,” he said. – Additional reporting by Selma Ikela.