Windhoek-The pressure group Landless People’s Movement (LPM) wants President Hage Geingob to order the Minister of Land Reform Utoni Nujoma to make public the list of beneficiaries of the current land resettlement programme.
The call was made yesterday by Maccai #Eigub of the LPM during a protest at Zoo Park over land. #Eigub read a petition of the movement containing the demand before handing it to the Deputy Speaker, Loide Kasingo. The latter received the petition on behalf of the Speaker of the National Assembly, Peter Katjavivi.
#Eigub said the list of the resettled should be released for the sake of accountability and transparency.
She said since one of the pillars of the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) is transparency and accountability, the list should be made public in conformity with the principles of Harambee.
The LPM that was established late last year is demanding a return of ancestral land lost at the hands of the German colonial regime and the former South African colonial regime.
The demand for ancestral land came after the dismissal of Deputy Minister of Land Reform, Bernadus Swartbooi, who was asked to resign after he failed to heed President Geingob’s call that he publicly apologise to his senior Nujoma, whom he had accused of tribal preference in allocating land to the previously disadvantaged. Swartbooi made the accusation against Nujoma at a traditional festival last year at Hoahanas in the Hardap Region.
In the petition #Eigub also called for the land distribution programme to be stopped with immediate effect since it does not reflect a commitment to correcting historical injustices.
She said since the resettlement programme is a government flagship under land reform why is land dispossession not included as part of the selection criteria used to resettle beneficiaries.
‘’Why is land dispossession not criteria? This is but one of the reasons that the current resettlement programme must be stopped,’’ said #Eigub.
As part of radical land reform in the future, the group pleaded with the government that absentee landlords’ farms be identified and expropriated, saying it should be done in accordance with Namibia’s constitution to benefit landless people and not the elites and the ruling class.
In addition, #Eigub also applauded the President for halting the land management bill that was about to be tabled in parliament before the land conference slated for September this year.
“We salute President Hage Geingob for stopping the land management bill from being tabled in its current form before the land conference,’’ commended #Eigub.
The group in its petition further demanded that the ancestral land question be introduced in the National Assembly and be a top priority at executive level.
It further condemned the continued lack of debate on the issue, saying the first national land conference must be externally evaluated for objectivity and fairness.
Kasingo upon receiving the petition promised that it would be handed to the Speaker for scrutiny.
The demonstrators, who were singing and chanting in Otjiherero, said they were surprised to see a huge number of members of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) and City Police surrounding Zoo Park.
Human rights activist Rosa Namises, who addressed the Deputy Speaker before the petition was read, said it was not necessary for the riot police to be present since it was a peaceful demonstration.
A vibrant youth leader who was also part of the demonstrators, Gosbert Kaffer, said preference in the resettlement programme should be given to people who lost land since the land belonged to their ancestors.