NANLO calls for postponement of land conference

22 Aug 2018 14:50pm
WINDHOEK, 22 AUG (NAMPA) – The Namibian National Labour Organisation (NANLO) has called on Government to postpone the second national conference on land, saying the indaba is doomed to fail amid lack of consultations.
NANLO’s position was aired by its president, Evalistus Kaaronda on Wednesday during a media briefing in the capital.
Kaaronda premised their stance on a lack of consensus between the affected groups, particularly white farmers who own the majority of the arable land and indigenous groups who are claiming their ancestral land.
Without a consensus, the conference will merely create false hope among the electorate and that might have negative repercussions, he said.
“If there are no bridges built through consensus, the land conference will just be a big failure and if it fails, it will spell disaster. Namibians have changed. We have learned more and we are not easy to fool,” Kaaronda said.
He further said he is worried about Government’s lacklustre approach to engaging white landowners.
He is equally disturbed by white landowners’ reluctance to come to the discussion table “knowing that land is a ticking time bomb”.
“You could see during the consultations, white people were not there,” he claimed.
Kaaronda reiterated that landowner need to be engaged.
“You would want to sit with the tribes that were dispossessed of their land and you can’t sit with them for two days, maybe six months or even a year,” he said, adding that the matter “cannot be addressed overnight.”
Kaaronda’s appeal to the government comes after two previous postponements of the much-talked-about conference - first due to a lack of funds, and then due to lack of consultations - in the last two years.
He said he was aware of these postponements, but was adamant that it does not override the “catastrophe” that could emanate from this year’s conference, should Government not heed their call.
He repeated: “I am more opposed to the notion of creating false hope. The conference is a farce. The risk of postponing it is far better than the risk of having it.”
The unionist-cum-farmer then charged that in its current set-up, the land conference lacks purpose and clarity in terms of what it intends to achieve.
“Clearly, if you have been with the people on the streets, they are not interested in talks,” he said, before adding that civil unrest is imminent if the land conference fails to live up to its billing.
The second national land conference is slated for 01-05 October 2018 and will be spearheaded by the Office of the Prime Minister.
The conference is expected to among other things address ancestral land claims for restitution, the willing seller-willing buyer policy, national resettlement programme and urban land reform.