Windhoek-A group calling itself the Movement of Dispossessed Landless (MDL) has
threatened the government with legal action if it continues with its plans to re-table the Land Bill before the land conference takes place in September.
The group had over 2 000 WhatsApp supporters by yesterday with each contributing about N$100 to cover the legal costs of any future court action should the Minister of Land Reform, Utoni Nujoma, continue with his plans to re-table the Land Bill in Parliament.
There are concerns the Bill will take powers away from traditional authorities if it is enacted in its current format.
The Bill proposes the establishment of communal land boards that will be mandated with the distribution of communal land.
The Bill also seeks to bar foreigners from owning agricultural, commercial and communal land. It furthermore proposes a raft of amendments to the Agricultural Commercial Land Reform Act of 1995 and the Communal Land Reform Act of 2002.
Speaking to New Era yesterday, group leader Sam Kauapirura said should government forge ahead and process the Bill, the group will be left with no option other than to go to court.
“We urgently call on the government to allow the land conference ahead of the Bill to allow for wider consultations,” said Kauapirura yesterday.
He said the land conference could be the ideal platform to interrogate core provisions as well as fundamental matters sidelined by the Bill.
On top of that, Kauapirura said, they are also concerned about recent media reports on Nujoma, who was quoted as saying the land reform ministry would not entertain ancestral land rights, which he likened to apartheid-era Bantustans.
“The question of ancestral land can simply not be left in the domain of Nujoma alone,” he said, adding that all the landless were not dispossessed on account of colonial history.
“While we remain law-abiding citizens, we are steadfast in fighting for our fundamental rights.”
Last Friday the All People’s Party (APP) became the third political party calling for a halt to the re-tabling of the Land Bill in the National Assembly before the land conference is held.
APP President Ignatius Shixwameni called upon both land reform minister 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 taken into account before any bill can be tabled,” Shixwameni said.