Affirmative Repositioning (AR), the only realistic force in the affirmation of the rights of the landless and poor black people, observes with despondency the overwhelming expectations from many Namibians who, whenever they are victimized, whenever they witness corrupt deeds and whenever they are threatened by the corrupt and powerful, find cover, support, sympathy and empathy in AR.
The masses of our people no longer have confidence in institutions of state which were established to assist them. Correctly so, they view these institutions as captured zones working in the interest of the elite and ready to surrender the poor at the caprice of the corrupt. We are saddened because of the fact that in these captured institutions (Parliament, Councils, Ministries, Anti-Corruption Commission, Ombudsman, some components of the judiciary and others) are individuals who are paid to assist the poor.
Although we are disappointed in this state of affairs, we will never stop assisting the poor because doing so would be tantamount to a refusal to participate and shape an ensuing revolutionary situation which will culminate in revolutionary outcomes in the not too distant future.
Afrobarometer survey results
A few weeks ago, the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) released the results of the house-to-house Afrobarometer International Survey. In this survey, conducted across all 14 regions and 121 constituencies, it found that 41% of Namibians confirmed that AR has been successful in raising and addressing the question of the pain and suffering of the landless as it relates to land and housing. While we are convinced that a targeted – as opposed to a general study – would have arrived at a different conclusion, we welcome this study because it is the first scientific and international evidence-based analysis on the work of AR since 2014. We particularly take note of the findings of the study that while 41% of Namibians support the AR method and approach on the land question, only 10% of Namibians believe that opposition parties were influential on the land question.
October 2018 land conference
We take note of President Hage Geingob’s announcement during the State of the Nation Address that the second national land conference will finally take place, if not again postponed, in October 2018. Unlike other stakeholders who view the envisaged land conference as a somewhat Christmas where Santa Claus will arrive with a bowl of land and housing, our experience with and government record of negotiating in bad faith places us on the side of extreme caution as we approach this conference. Our understanding is that conferences and policies do not have the force of law. Looked at closely, this conference may just be another political gimmick like the one held in 1991.
After accepting the property clause in the constitution, politicians went on to convene the 1991 conference while knowing very well that the fate of the land question has been sealed by the that neoliberal constitution. President Geingob, who chaired the 1991 land conference, while knowing that a resolution was taken against foreign land ownership, went ahead to negotiate a private land deal, which gave Chinese businessman Jack Huang access to our land.
While there is a resolution of the 1991 land conference which he chaired, his lands minister, Utoni Nujoma, is about to hand over three farms with cabinet support, if he has already not done so, to a Russian billionaire Rashid Sardarov. Recently, a SWAPO-run Oshakati Town Council wanted to sell land to Maphios Cheda, a Zimbabwean judge. What would exactly make the resolutions of October any different from the 1991 land conference with the same chairman, same context and increased and stronger predatory elite? Like the 1991 land conference, whose outcomes were pre-determined and all domestic papers presented by whites, with indigenous communities limited to mere statements, there is nothing to make us believe that this conference will not be another political gimmick.
The fight against corruption
In terms of public confidence, AR has since taken over the work of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) although not having the legal mandate and institutional capacity. It has become evidently clear that the ACC is an instrument in the hands of the elites. Instead of reporting corruption to the ACC, most Namibians prefer to approach AR in order for their concerns to be taken seriously. In response to this reality, the AR legal team has been hard at work creating an institution that will have a legal mandate and institutional capacity to deal with prosecutorial and litigation matters as it relates to social justice, economic freedom, governance and transparency. We call on all AR activists to continue fighting, investigating and exposing corruption while we are setting up the framework to assist our people.