Landless in the land of the brave
Recent agitations by the youth to have land especially urban land distributed to all Namibians from across the divide can only be ignored at own peril.
While there is a clear divided opinion on how best the issue of land shortage for those who need it should be dealt with there is definite consensus among a good number of Namibians that everyone needs the scarce commodity.
Perhaps such agitations should be dealt with amicably in a manner that satisfies all in this year as the country celebrates a silver jubilee of independence. Indeed 25 years is a sad long time for many Namibians with a thriving economy and a modest population not have land.
Just this weekend many youths across the country patiently went to various local authorities to apply for the much needed land and one should not look at the issue with blinkers. Neither should one feel that the issue of land ownership is one that needs to be ignored because it is coming from a few disadvantaged masses but reality is that nothing maters to many including young and old Namibians than to have a place were you call home.
It matters to every man and woman to know that I have somewhere I can put my head on the pillow without fear. While the country has had laws that govern the distribution of land for both urban farming since independence there is clear visibility that those laws now need to be visited again. The Government needs to take the lead in changing the laws especially those ones that promote auctioning of land in urban areas to the detriment of the poor who cannot afford to bid for it.
It can also not be overemphasized that the very same government needs to relook at its acquisition model for farmland before the patience of those that have been waiting for the commodity wears thin.
While many would like to pretend the hunger for land is a passing phase reality is that reality can always be a bitter pill to swallow if it faces you head on.
Of course if I own my mansion elsewhere l would have the notion that someone somewhere who is agitating for somewhere to farm to produce for his family is looking to destabilize the country.
While if I am the same person who is looking for that small portion of land that I would call my home l would also feel like those with the land are mean.
This should not be the way to go about it. Namibians need to look at the land shortage question realistically and admit that the further the delay in dealing with it the higher the reality that the bottom will come off sooner than later.
There is that consensus that Namibians cannot be landless in the land of the brave if that notion is what holds water so why not come up with modalities to address the issue in an amicable manner.
Housing is a key developmental area and the earlier government nods to this and improve serviced land delivery the better. At the same time agriculture is a component of survival in Africa and there is no better way to improve it than give the Namibians an opportunity to farm.
In fact reality is that the more African ignore the hunger for land from their people we are fast going back to the colonial era where our forefathers worked tirelessly under the mines and need not to mention they were mining what is not theirs and they still do not have anything to show for it.
What will the current generation tell their grandchildren when they ask why they do not have somewhere to live? Should we be that nation that will lie to the future generation that we could not act on the land issue or do we want a country that will tell the next generations that we found you this place you call home?