Swanu hails Pohamba for addressing land issues

28 Aug 2013 11:50
WINDHOEK, 28 AUG (NAMPA) - Opposition party Swanu of Namibia has hailed President Hifikepunye Pohamba for highlighting the essence of the liberation struggle as far as the land issue is concerned at the Heroes Day’ commemorations.
The party held a media briefing here on Wednesday in reaction to the events at Omugulugwombashe on 26 August.
“We are elated by the fact that he concurs with us and that the process of land acquisition is slow as the willing-seller willing-buyer system has collapsed,” Swanu of Namibia president Usutuaije Maamberua said while addressing the briefing.
While addressing thousands of people on Heroes Day, Pohamba said access to land by formerly disadvantaged Namibians has not been successful over the past 23 years.
The Head of State indicated that the willing-seller, willing buyer policy exists, but is not working, adding that there is a need to investigate how Government can make land available to the people.
“The fight of the liberation struggle was for land. The landless must get land. Government is ready to buy land from those who have the land. Their reluctance is compelling us to find other means on how we can give land to our people,” Pohamba was quoted as saying in the New Era newspaper this week.
However, Maamberua pointed out that the suggestion made by the Namibian leader that other solutions to the land question need to be explored can only come from the people through a second Land Conference. In June 1991, a National Land Conference was held to discuss the land question. The conference, broadly representative in its attendance, reached a measure of consensus on the issue of redistribution. These included the resolutions that any redistribution would be on a compensatory 'willing seller/willing buyer' basis, and, significantly, that there could be no recognition of ancestral land claims.
Since then, Government has taken some steps to purchase farms to resettle farmers from the communal areas, but the programme's impact has been minimal.
The Swanu leader extended a clarion call on the necessity to convene such a conference in order to discuss land issues in the country holistically.
“It is Swanu’s submission that it is not only the land acquisition that has failed, but land redistribution as well,” he stated.
He elaborated that its failure emanates both from free settlement farms that are allocated to big wigs like Permanent Secretaries, traditional chiefs, governors, Members of Parliament (MP) and Ministers.
Maamberua pointed out that under-utilisation and under-investment of virgin rural land, as well as lack of investment in rural development, are hindrances to land comprehensive redistribution.