Landless to approach ombudsman about resettlement list

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Petrus Muronga

Windhoek-The Landless People’s Movement plans to approach the ombudsman to put pressure on the government to release the list of all resettled beneficiaries of its countrywide resettlement programme thus far.

During a press briefing yesterday the movement refused to share with the media the list of names of land beneficiaries it claims to have but indicated they will first engage the ombudsman to compel the Ministry of Justice to release the official list before it releases its own list, which it threatened to do yesterday.

A member of the national committee in the movement, Norberth Tjombonde, said the government would not cooperate with the movement regarding the request made last week to the Ministry of Land Reform to release the list.

He said they have not received any response regarding the request and accused government officials at the ministry of not being in their offices since the request was made.

Human rights activist Rosa Namises condemned the statement made by Swapo Party Secretary General Nangolo Mbumba that the people will judge the former deputy minister of land reform Bernadus Swartbooi.

‘‘This will put people at loggerheads. We want to say that we are not at loggerheads with each other. This makes people to recall the old days when low intensity conflict was created amongst people,’’ noted Namises.

She called on the public not to judge Swaartbooi for something he has not done, saying if Swaartbooi committed any crime the justice system should take its course.

Another member of the committee, Olsen Kahiriri, charged that the truth should be told in order for the nation to come up with a blueprint that will free people to become landowners but not land beggars.

‘‘We want the truth in order for us to be able to produce the best blueprint that will determine the destiny of our people,’’ said Kahiriri.

He added that history cannot be swept away and the land issue cannot be wished to vanish, adding that the group is patiently waiting for an official response regarding petitions handed to the government and they cannot accept instructions through the media.

The movement last week threatened to release the list of resettled farmers should the land reform ministry fail to respond to its request that it release the official list.

Earlier reports indicated the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Land Reform, Peter Amunyela, refused to give the list to the media, saying it may cause harassment of resettled farmers.

The movement that was established late last year has been at the forefront of demanding a return of ancestral land, lost at the hands of former German and South African colonial regimes.

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