One day the bottom will come off
More often than not, concealment of emotions can lead to an outburst. The outburst for someone who has been counting their loses and not saying anything about them always has a tendency of exploding like a Tsunami.
Those that have faced the anger of a scorned woman would know why it is imperative to face sensitive issues and debate about them.
Currently, the Government is playing too close with the emotive issue of land that has seen many young Namibians clamouring about the need to own but a piece of it. More importantly, unlike in most African countries where the cries for land are for farming land, Namibia’s problem seems to be in the urban areas.
Most Namibians feel that there is a definite need for local authorities to find a solution to the high prices charged to access land in urban areas. Perhaps making it worse for many middle to low income earning Namibians is the fact that the country uses the auction system in urban areas to distribute land. Unfortunately this is a model that leaves a certain society away from accessing a basic need like land while creating land barons on the other hand as the rich can bargain for the commodity with their abundant wealth.
On the flip side, some Namibians who want to own farming land also find it difficult because those that have the commodity in their hands are not very keen to sell it. The other challenge is that even if Government were to buy land, some of the prices that land owners ask for are not affordable with tax payer’s money. This obviously leaves the Government in a compromising situation because in as much as they need to distribute the land, they might not have enough money to acquire the land.
Such situations obviously mean that there is a definite need for Government and policy makers to wake and smell the coffee on the land distribution issue. It is extremely important for the powers that be to face the reality that methods like ‘willing buyer willing seller’ to distribute land do not work.
The President, Dr. Hage Geingob, in his first State of the Nation Address seemed to confirm that while the government has done reasonably well to distribute land to the landless Namibians, the pace at which the land distribution has been dealt with has not been requisite. That is the same sentiment that his predecessor Hifikepunye Pohamba also shared.
While it is important to see the head of state admitting that something needs to be done to bring a paradigm shift in land distribution, the reality is that the answer might take long to come. The challenge though, is that there is a risk of leaving the issue too late to sort out. Government needs to find a way to craft laws that fast-track land distribution.
The challenge lies with Government accepting that there is a challenge in distributing the land to people and not finding a solution that can as well work in a way that does not leave the people frustrated. The situation might be calm for the time being but reality is that the bottom will come off at some time and when it does it might be rather difficult to contain the cries of those that want land.