WINDHOEK- The Minister of Land Reform Utoni Nujoma is seeking legal advice from the Office of the Attorney General on whether to release the list of beneficiaries of the current land resettlement programme.
This, according to Ombudsman John Walters, was the response he got from the ministry when he requested the master list of beneficiaries of the current land resettlement programme.
Speaking to New Era on Sunday, Walters said the ministry did not specify as to what legal advice it seeks but said he will give them able time to seek whatever advice they wanted.
Three weeks ago, Walters requested the Ministry of Land Reform to provide his office with the master list by 24 May.
The request follows a demand by the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) movement that the Office of the Ombudsman investigate how Vicky ya Toivo, the wife of the late liberation struggle hero Andimba Toivo ya Toivo, was allocated a resettlement farm recently.
Ya Toivo was among seven resettlement beneficiaries allocated resettlement farms in March this year, although her family had previously benefitted from the same scheme.
Ya Toivo was allocated a farm measuring 2,376 hectares in the Omaheke Region, barely two weeks after the farms were advertised in local newspapers for allocation.
This raised eyebrows, with critics, specifically AR, questioning why Ya Toivo, who by casual definition is not previously disadvantaged as is a requirement, was allocated a resettlement farm.
The Ministry of Land Reform has in the past been reluctant to release the master resettlement list, amidst accusations and suspicions by land activists last year that since the beginning of the resettlement programme politically-connected individuals have been favoured for resettlement.
In a letter to AR activist Job Amupanda recently, Walters said his office had decided to launch a systemic investigation into the complaints regarding the alleged unfair allocation of farming units by the Ministry of Land Reform.
“Your complaint is included in the investigation,” he said.
“The systemic investigation will be guided by the master list of beneficiaries, which we requested from the Ministry of Land Reform. We will inform you of the progress of the investigation,” he added.
Walters, speaking to New Era, appeared optimistic that the ministry would provide his office with the master list of beneficiaries.