APP opposes re-tabling of Land Bill prior to land conference

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Kuzeeko Tjitemisa

Windhoek-The All People’s Party (APP) has joined voices with other opposition political parties calling for a halt to the re-tabling of the Land Bill in the National Assembly before the land conference is held later this year.

Addressing a media conference on Friday, APP President Ignatius Shixwameni called upon both Minister of Land Reform, Utoni Nujoma, and Namibian President Hage Geingob to call off the re-tabling of the Land Bill in the National Assembly, which is scheduled to open in two weeks’ time.

“This Bill must wait until after the land conference is held as planned and agreed to by the government. The conference must be held first and people’s views be taken into account before any bill can be tabled,” Shixwameni said.

The new Land Bill, among others, seeks to bar foreigners from owning agricultural, commercial and communal land. It also proposes a raft of amendments to the Agricultural Commercial Land Reform Act of 1995 and the Communal Land Reform Act of 2002.

According to figures revealed by the land reform ministry last year, 141 of the 281 foreigners who own prime land in Namibia are German.
However, the Bill does not propose to prevent foreigners from owning land in urban areas.

Responding to media questions last week, Nujoma said enough consultation has been done and the Bill will be ready to be re-introduced after parliament opens.

“Deliberation on the Land Bill started in 2004 – my predecessors have dealt with this issue, they have consulted widely. If you asked the Legal Assistance Centre they can give you testimony, the ministry has gone countrywide to consult with various stakeholders,” said Nujoma.

“This Land Bill has been over-consulted, we have widely consulted – since 2004 we have been consulting,” he had stressed.

“We gave the politicians the opportunity to look at the Bill during the festive season and this was not enough. We have extended their input to 2017,” he said, adding that to date none of those “talking too much” have contributed to input on the Bill.

“You had the opportunity to make an input and you have done nothing, just made noise in newspapers – it doesn’t help,” he said, adding that that is not what the government is striving to achieve with the Harambee Prosperity Plan.

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