Traditional leaders pledge their support to Swartbooi

06 Feb 2017 16:10pm
MALTAHOHE, 06 FEB (NAMPA) – Poverty cannot be successfully eradicated unless the land question is handled in accordance with people’s views, experiences and expectations, former Deputy Minister of Land Reform Bernadus Swartbooi has said.
He was speaking at a mass meeting at Maltahöhe on Sunday, which was organised by a group of activists calling themselves ‘Progressive Landless Namibians’.
“Land justice is a central tenet of economic justice and economic freedom,” he told the crowd of approximately 1 200 people.
Swartbooi addressed a similar meeting in Keetmanshoop on Saturday.
Late last year, he was instructed by President Hage 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.
Swartbooi said at an earlier gathering that he was told if he does not apologise he should leave the office and he decided not to apologise because they were rude to him.
“I will never apologise for speaking the truth,” he said.
Also speaking at Sunday’s meeting was Chief of the #Nao-Daman in the Kunene Region, Petrus Uukongo, who said their fight is for land, nothing else.
“Our forefathers who fought for land perished and yet we are landless,” he said.
Uukongo further stated that the Nama, Ovaherero, Damara and San are united in the fight for land and should be treated as equals in Namibia.
He said from independence until today people are landless.
“We therefore want a leader who doesn’t discriminate or judge on ethnicity. That type of leader is Swartbooi,” said a fired up Uukongo, who represented Damara King Justus ||Garoëb.
The former Deputy Minister of Land Reform, before delivering his keynote address, hugged and kissed an elderly woman.
The woman who was introduced as “Ouma Fleermuys” said the fight for land is not only for Swartbooi, but all descendants of those who lost their lives fighting for land.
“My child, I pray that God protects you and guides you on this mission you have undertaken,” the clearly emotional Fleermuys told Swartbooi.