President Geingob told to be honest about land conference …as he promises transparency and inclusivity

28 Aug 2018 13:00pm

Politicians have told President Hage Geingob to be honest with citizens after his hero’s day commemoration statement where he said the upcoming land conference would be transparent and inclusive.

The President’s promise of inclusivity has been questioned by longtime proponent for land restitution, Usutuaije Maamberua.

 He said his SWANU party had not as yet been called to make its presentation with regards to the conference.  

 Maamberua said he would not be obliged to read too much into what the President had said but instead he demanded for action from his side.

“If the land conference is going to be inclusive what does it mean? As of now the different community traditional authorities who have lost land, I have not been informed that they have been invited to make presentations.”

“They have position papers but I don’t see in the program where they are given a chance to make full presentations regarding land in general and ancestral land in particular,” said the former SWANU leader.

Maamberua said his understanding was that the number of attendees had been limited to between 400 and 500 delegates, something which he said was not a sign of inclusivity given the magnitude of such a conference. 

“I have not heard of any political parties that have been invited in order to make their presentations. A party like SWANU for example that has been advocating for this, even the holding of the land conference, not to talk about specific issues like the ancestral land, we have not been invited to present our position papers.”

“Even when talking about specific issues like ancestral land, to what extent do you want to take it to. You see, Swapo has taken a resolution already that was quoted in the paper that as far as they are concerned, ancestral land cannot be taken further than what was decided in 1991,” he said.

There seems to be a misunderstanding and ignorance with regards to the meaning of and what constitutes ancestral land, the politician submitted.

He added that most in the ruling party think it is about taking over cities and towns.

“I have my own doubts when the President is talking about inclusivity. I doubt whether he means what he says,” he said.

However, Geingob, in his recent speech remarked that his government was “opening up difficult policy conversations”. 

It is not clear as to whether that signaled a sudden turn on his stance towards ancestral land or whether such conversations include ancestral land.

For the Affirmative Repositioning’s Dimbulukeni Nauyoma it is not clear what the President means by inclusivity as they have not received an invitation yet.

“In 1991, in his final speech there are pertinent issues that he highlighted so you see, our President is not new to making these statements.  They are quick to talk about genocide and who must get reparations and all these things. The problem we have is that we don’t know when to trust the President.”

“He says one thing and he acts in a different manner and it becomes very difficult. If he says that we must have difficult conversations, ancestral land is the issue we would like to discuss,” he said.

Nauyoma added that the blunder has been to centralise ancestral land issues around the Landless People’s Movement’s Bernadus Swartbooi.

“Ancestral land is not about Swartbooi. It’s an emotional subject that touches others who don’t have closure until today because how they lost land. So if we are honest in what we say then we are prepared to have those difficult conversations so that people get closure,” he added.