Keetmanshoop – Residents of the sleepy village of Aroab in the //Karas Region will tomorrow hold a peaceful demonstration calling for the removal of //Karas Regional Governor Lucia Basson.
Though several efforts to get comment on calls for her removal from Basson over the past five days drew a blank, Keetmanshoop Rural Constituency Councillor Elias Kharuxab said he was aware of the demonstration planned for tomorrow but could not give further information.
Angry residents of Aroab accuse the governor of hate speech, claiming she insulted them when she said Aroab residents are not original Namibians because according to her they were dumped at the settlement by the apartheid South African regime and as such do not have land rights.
In a telephonic interview with the Aroab Small Farmers Union Secretary Gertjie Witbooi, who is at the forefront of the preparation for the peaceful demonstration, he said Aroab residents are not happy with the governor’s views expressed in a recent article in Namibian Sun newspaper, where she allegedly said they are not Namibians and thus have no rights to land.
About two weeks ago, about 20 farmers moved their animals to farm Dickbusch, some 45 kilometres west of Aroab, demanding to be resettled on that farm, and in an article in the Namibian Sun last week, Basson is quoted saying the situation of the farmers is complicated because they do not belong to any recognised traditional authority.
“What makes their situation more problematic is the fact that their ancestors are from South Africa. Many people in Aroab do not even have national documents,” she was quoted as having said.
In the article, Basson advised the farmers to appeal for land from a traditional authority, while admitting that she has never, as chairperson of the //Karas Regional Resettlement Committee, recommended anyone from Aroab to get a resettlement farm.
Witbooi says the governor’s views have angered people of Aroab and they will march in numbers to call for her removal, as they feel she is unfit to hold public office, stating that a governor should be a mother to all Namibians.
“The Aroab community won’t accept any apology, because we want her to be removed with immediate effect,” he said.
He added that because she is a presidential appointee, the community will write a letter to President Hage Geingob to ask him go to Aroab to receive their petition.
“We will write a letter to the president so that he can come and receive our petition as he is the one who appointed her,” he noted.
Witbooi further denied claims that the farmers have been evicted from the farm they occupied, saying no one has communicated anything back to them since handing over their petition and thus they will remain at the farm until they get a satisfactory response from the relevant authorities.