WINDHOEK – Swapo leaders remain divided on today’s planned mass land applications organised by Job Amupanda’s Affirmative Repositioning movement countrywide.
Party secretary-general Nangolo Mbumba has received backing from several party regional co-ordinators in his opposition to planned mass applications, but some quarters of the party see nothing wrong with the planned activities.
Mbumba and Amupanda spent the better part of this week exchanging verbal shots over the issue, but both men have received backing from various Swapo leaders.
The ruling party’s leadership in the Kavango West Region yesterday said it sees nothing wrong with landless Namibians applying for land en masse.
The Kavango West leadership, however, warned Namibians not to generalise issues affecting towns in the country because each town has its own circumstances regarding land.
Party co-ordinator, David Hamutenya, told New Era journalist Mathias Haufiku that party members in the region would not be barred from following the Affirmative Repositioning movement, although he said applying does not guarantee approval to get land.
He did, however, warn Swapo members serving in the party’s leadership structures to refrain from co-ordinating mass land application activities.
“Most of the youth that I have seen clearly do not have the means to develop land, so this leaves one questioning whether young people have missed the point [with the campaign],” he said.
Hamutenya’s liberal stance on the matter is in sharp contrast to messages issued by his counterparts in //Kharas and Erongo regions, where Mathew Mumbala and Phillipus Heita, respectively, sternly warned that party members participating in the mass land campaign will be identified and dealt with.
Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) secretary, Dr Elijah Ngurare – a Swapo central committee member – this week urged landless young people to apply for land from their respective local authorities, saying it is well within their rights to do so.
Many national executive committee members of the SPYL have backed Ngurare’s stance on the matter, saying there was nothing illegal about landless Namibians applying for land from their government.
Also, the SPYL regional leadership in //Kharas Region this week dismissed Mumbala’s threats and urged the youth in the region to hand in their applications today and in the future.
But in Oshikoto, the regional leadership of the SPYL called a press conference this week to urge people to stay away from what it called “illegal land applications” aimed at causing disharmony in the country, Tsumeb-based New Era journalist Rochelle Neidel reports.
“We are gathered to distance ourselves as disciplined members and supporters of the Swapo Party Youth League from those who have resorted to advocate for land applications in the name of Affirmative Repositioning,” Swapo councillor, Mathew Hangula, said.
Oshikoto shares the same stance on the matter as counterparts in Kavango East Region who – according to New Era journalist John Muyamba – called a press conference yesterday to condemn today’s planned mass action.
“The Swapo Party regional leadership of the Kavango East Region is hereby directing its members and urges them to be vigilant on the matter that all peace loving Namibians and indeed the Swapo Party members be guided against the so-called land repositioning activities at all levels,” said Swapo Party Elders Council’s regional secretary, Nestor Mufenda.
Amupanda, with fellow land activists Dimbulukeni Nauyoma and George Kambala, is spearheading today’s mass action and is being assisted by volunteers in other parts of the country.
The three youth activists’ activities already earned them suspensions from Swapo last year. They are yet to be formally charged or face disciplinary hearing.