Rundu-President Hage Geingob says Namibia is committed to addressing the contentious land issue but he feels the willing buyer,willing seller concept, which the country adopted in line with Resolution 435, needs to be revisited.
He said that for Namibia to achieve further economic growth, in addition to maintaining peace, everyone should be open to new approaches.
“We have exhausted the concept because after 27 years the process is slow in satisfying the wishes of the majority of Namibians. This means we need to refer back to our constitution which allows for the expropriation of land with fair compensation and also look at foreign ownership of land, especially absentee land owners,” he said when addressing the main Independence Day celebration at Rundu yesterday.
According to Geingob, in terms of ancestral land, proposals from all Namibians are welcome so that a national consensus is reached before proceeding with new measures to address the land problem.
“Of course, one question I ask when addressing land is who the owners of Windhoek and surrounding areas are. The San people always seem to be left out of the discussion on land even though they, more than any other group of Namibians, have more of a right to claim a large proportion of this country’s land,” Geingob said.
Furthermore Geingob said – in his address to Namibians from all walks of life, and foreign guests, who joined in celebrating the country’s 27th independence anniversary in Rundu – that as Namibians they should all bear in mind “that we should desist from visiting the sins of the fathers on the children of today” but come together and hold hands in dealing with the land problem for it to be solved amicably as a nation, while maintaining the strong foundations of peace, stability and unity enjoyed for 27 years.
“Fellow Namibians, today is a celebration, therefore I will not delve too deeply in issues affecting our nation, since one does not spoil a birthday celebration with a long speech. I will elaborate on some of the matters I have mentioned on the 12th of April during my State of the Nation address,” he said.
Recently several youths, as reported in the media, have been making their demands for land heard, while the country has seen several groups mobilising people, especially the youths, to demand that land be given to them and all locals to live on, which has put pressure on the government.
The independence celebration was well attended despite some attempts by several people to mobilise others to boycott the event for various reasons. The Rundu sports stadium was packed and some people on the outside of the stadium watched proceedings through the fence, while others climbed trees outside the venue to get a good view.
Congratulatory messages and best wishes from various countries were read. Letters from President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the Royal Stockholm Palace in Sweden and Russian President Vladimir Putin were noted.
DRC President Joseph Kabila, American President Donald Trump and the Canadian Government also sent congratulatory messages and best wishes, as well as the Federal Republic of Germany, the Republic of Turkey, India and the Republic of Croatia.