06 Feb 2017 11:20am
MALTAHOHE, 06 FEB (NAMPA) Approximately 1 200 people gathered at a meeting in Maltahöhe organised by a group of activists calling themselves Progressive Landless Namibians.
Former Deputy Minister of Land Reform Bernardus Swartbooi was the keynote speaker and was welcomed by an elated crowd upon his arrival at the football field, with some calling him son of the soil, and man amongst men.
Swartbooi said time for political correctness is over and it is time for social correctness.
We must recognise, as both the elector and the elected, that we have the irrefutable duties of truth, justice and peace, both to ourselves and to our nation Namibia, he said.
Swartbooi said they will never be able to address their challenges unless they solve them.
He thanked people who came from all over the country out of concern about the fate of the land reform process.
We have come from various corners of the country to express our dissatisfaction with a broken land reform system - which pains and burdens us - for a brighter day is unable to yield from a deformed reform process, an emotional Swartbooi said.
He stated that the gathering was not out of animosity or hate or deception for the government or its leaders, but rather of the enduring spirit of hope and belief of a better future.
We have come here to express the universal truth that we, by the design of historic events, are land dispossessed. We declare, with every strength available in us, that justice requires that land lost must be returned, Swartbooi stated.
He noted that the Damara, Ovaherero, Nama and San people were impoverished through land that was taken from them and upon which they were made wage labourers.
Swartbooi said Government cannot continue to deny this history and pretend that when people ask for land, that tribalism, greed and hate drive this request.
He said they lost land and want it back.
We know where that land is, we know what to do with the land. Government cannot insult us by calling us unpatriotic when we raise our land dispossession.
Only an unpatriotic and submissive undertone can utter such irresponsible statements, he said.
Mr. Geingob (President Hage Geingob), gives us back our land, we are hungry and we are thirsty. As land dispossessed citizens, we demand our ancestral land.
Swartbooi suggested that Government enlarge communal lands that have been devastated by overgrazing and years of drought.
He also addressed a similar meeting in Keetmanshoop on Saturday.
Late last year, Swartbooi was instructed by Geingob to apologise for publicly criticising Land Reform Minister, Utoni Nujoma for his handling of the resettlement programme.
He refused and after a meeting with the president and other senior ministers, Government announced that Swartbooi resigned. He remains a Member of Parliament and is now engaged in the establishment of a national movement that aims to represent the concerns of landless Namibians.