Keetmanshoop-Former deputy minister of land reform Bernadus Swartbooi and fellow Swapo Member of Parliament Ida Hoffman are to address landless people at Keetmanshoop on Saturday. The “Landless Namibians Mass Meeting”, as it has been billed, is set to be held at J. Stephanus Stadium under the theme ‘No Land Bill Before The Second Land Conference’.
The group organising the meeting, call themselves Progressive Landless Namibians, and say their aim is to create awareness among landless Namibians that they have lost land and that the current resettlement programme has failed to fairly address land redistribution in respect of those who lost land.
One of the group members, Ferdinand Jacobs, told New Era the meeting’s core aim is to scrutinise the land issue and resettlement programme, while the impact of the genocide of 1904-08 will also be discussed.
“Swartbooi will focus on the land issue and how we got where we are, while Hoffman will speak on the genocide and where we stand and the way forward,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Swapo Party regional office has refuted claims the party has issued a directive to its members not to attend the planned meeting.
New Era was told that the party’s regional leaders had directed all party members not participate in the meeting, but Swapo regional coordinator Matheus Mumbala denied knowledge of it. He said he had not heard of any such directive and that if it was indeed issued, he was not informed about it.
“That’s news to me. If there is any such directive then I was not told, but we are not the police and Namibia is a democratic country, so why should we stop people?” he remarked during a telephonic interview.
Keetmanshoop Urban Constituency Councillor and Veterans Affairs Deputy Minister Hilma Nikanor also dismissed claims that she had tried to derail the meeting by holding another meeting at the venue on the same date.
Nikanor said she was not aware of any such claims and said she did not have any such meeting scheduled. “That’s news to my ears. I had no knowledge of that. What meeting was I supposed to hold? Why should I stand in other people’s way when they want to do whatever they want to do,” she asked.