Committee formed for landless Namibians

05 Feb 2017 11:20am
KEETMANSHOOP, 05 FEB (NAMPA) – Member of Parliament and former Deputy Minister of Land Reform, Bernadus Swartbooi on Saturday introduced a movement to lead discussion and seek redress on land issues in the country.
Swartbooi presented the group of around 20 individuals from various regions to a crowd of about 2 500 people who attended the Landless Namibians Mass Meeting held at the J. S. Stephanus Stadium in Tseiblaagte, Keetmanshoop.
The introduction of the pressure group came shortly before Swartbooi interrupted the closing of his marathon speech to highlight the close relationship between the Nama and Ovaherero Genocide Technical Committees.
Land dispossession and the 1904-1908 Herero and Nama Genocide under German colonial rule were the key thread at Saturday’s meeting.
At the interruption, Swartbooi invited patron of the Ovaherero genocide committee, Festus Muundjua, to the podium by way of recognising the latter’s role in talks on the matter.
Given the microphone, Muundjua asked Swartbooi to join him in forming a new political party – a request swiftly declined by the former deputy minister and Swapo Party member.
“No, no, no,” he said.
Swartbooi said he was aware that the establishment of the new committee would be construed as the formation of a political party, but that such interpretations would be false.
“We know that there is a strong police and intelligence contingent in town to monitor this meeting and it will be said that a new party was started, but that would be lies.”
He said the group is comprised of people from different ethnic groups who will represent all landless people in Namibia.
“We do recognise however that the Nama, Ovaherero, San and Damara people were affected much more profoundly in the dispossession of land,” Swartbooi said.
Members of the group include former Swapo Party employee Hennie Seibeb, land activists Rosa Namises, Ferdinand Jacobs, Paul Thomas and Sima Luipert.
Norman Tjombonde, son of Ovaherero Paramount Chief Vekuii Rukoro is also part of the group.
The committee that is to be named at a later stage was assembled from individuals who organised demonstrations and meetings in support of Swartbooi and who late last year publicly criticised Land Reform Minister Utoni Nujoma for his handling of the resettlement process.
Swartbooi said the group would remain steadfast and united to ensure restorative justice for landless Namibians.