LPM will not petition land conference exclusion: Swartbooi

11 Jul 2018 19:30pm
WINDHOEK, 11 JUL (NAMPA) – The Landless People’s Movement (LPM) will not challenge its alleged omission from the 2nd national land conference, dubbing the land indaba a political gimmick aimed at salvaging President Hage Geingob’s failing presidency.
This is according to LPM’s leader and former land reform deputy minister Bernadus Swartbooi at a press conference in the capital on Wednesday.
Swartbooi was in possession of a document he referred to as “a draft paper of the official programme for the land conference”, on which LPM’s name does not feature.
Instead, if LPM can solicit sufficient funds, it will organise a separate land conference where all relevant stakeholders will be invited to “genuinely address Namibia’s land problems”, he said.
This will be done under the auspices of credible institutions like the United Nations “as the State can no longer be trusted”, added Swartbooi.
He asserted that the land conference has already been politicised.
“It is a Swapo election gimmick at best, this national land conference. The secretary general (Sophia Shaningwa) forms part of this important committee and only one other political party is invited to say one or two things,” he claimed.
He added that the land question cannot be reduced to two political parties, the ruling Swapo Party and the official opposition, the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), the only other political formation invited to the conference, according to Swartbooi.
The former //Kharas governor then charged: “Hage Gottfried Geingob wants to use the land conference as a bid for his re-election, using the hosting of this conference as one of the key successes for 2019. He wants to put the conference as one of the good stories to tell, in a regime so short of any successes, boasting of this conference was inevitable.”
LPM feels hard done by Government “which claims to have an open-door policy where no Namibian must feel left out”.
According to Swartbooi, it is surprising that the conference was twice postponed, first due to lack of funds and second due to lack of consultation with key stakeholders, yet the LPM is sidelined in the matter.
“The Landless People’s Movement that has been the premier guiding force of the land question in this country has not been invited. They have not even attempted to have a discussion with us on what we think are the important issues to be debated at this conference,” he elaborated.
He further claimed that the government will deploy the national intelligence services to spy on caucuses of the different invited groups to the conference.
More so, there could be a military intervention, if things do not go as planned, according to Swartbooi.
“Some of the former PLAN combatants, through the renamed Namibian Defence Force, will be used systematically to silence certain groups who are totally against the current land policies,” Swartbooi alleged.
“Effectively, the land question is not only being politicised, but also being militarised by the regime. Let it be known that we do not fear the military. No military is greater than peoples’ power,” he concluded.
While claiming to have the masses behind them, the LPM is yet to register formally with the Electoral Commission of Namibia as a political party.