The Landless People’s Movement has said it will not attend a land conference chaired by the sitting minister of lands, Utoni Nujoma and have called for him to resign following his widely publicised utterances in an ENCA documentary that land could not be given to the poor.
Although the minister ahs come to say, though the government owned New Era publication, political commentators and the leading opposition party has called his statements “unfortunate”.
Speaking to The Villager yesterday after a press conference, LPM’s Paul Thomas has said that the minister has shown that he is insensitive towards the emotive land question.
“The land conference would be a non-starter with Utoni Nujoma being the chairperson of that conference. Even organising the whole land conference. So that’s why the Landless People’s Movement has emphasised the reason why the president must this time recall the minister as a minister of land reform,” he said.
The utterances show that the Swapo government lacks the political will to address the long-standing land question. LPM has maintained.
However, political analyst, Ndumbah Kamwanya has said that although Nujoma’s rant has no place in the Namibian democracy, it should in no way be interpreted to mean that it is government’s official stance.
“This is troubling in many aspects. For example, the platform that he uttered that statement is an international platform you see. The impression that has been given there indicates that he does not understand the complexity of the issue and also insensitivity towards people that are struggling in getting land. You can not say that you can not give the poor land, what are you trying to imply?”
“People are angry. Even demanding that he should resign and all those things. For me the way I look at it, it’s a blunder that he made. It does not reflect the stand of the government. It just shows that the person that is in charge as a minister really do not understand the land issue. The best he can do is to apologise, he should not wait for the president to demand that apology not for him top resign,” he said.
Official opposition leader McHenry Venaani has also lambasted Nujoma for being irresponsible saying that white people who got land were poor and subsidised.
For him, to say people can not farm, is a fallacy: “We need give these people tools, credit lines. Its like saying a poor person can not become rich. So Mr. Nujoma’s statement is very reckless. He must be called to order. I Well his statement as very unfortunate to be made by senior leader of his calibre.”
He however said that Nujoma’s statements have a potential to derail the land conference and that his party will push for important reforms.
“What should not happen is this resettlement that are given to rich people. Those that can buy farms let them buy farms .