Ancestral land restitution cannot cause civil war: Tjiriange

03 Oct 2018 15:40pm
WINDHOEK, 03 OCT (NAMPA) – Former Justice Minister, Ngarikutuke Tjiriange has refuted assertions by some that ancestral land claims and their restitution must not be discussed at the second National Land Conference as doing so would lead to a civil strife.
Tjiriange made these observations in an interview with Nampa on Tuesday on the sidelines of the ongoing land conference, shortly after he stepped off the podium.
He said ancestral land claims were not out of “hallucination” and that if Government’s resettlement programme seeks to restore past injustices, it should target communities that lost land.
“Restorative justice means that you are restoring the right of a person that you have taken away from him. That is what we are talking about,” he said.
The former minister’s remarks come on the back of statements by Founding President Sam Nujoma and former President Hifikepunye Pohamba, who said ancestral land claims should not be entertained at the conference as doing so would result in civil strife.
Tjiriange disagrees with the two former leaders.
“A civil war will erupt from the marginalisation of those who were dispossessed of their land,” he said.
He opined that a civil war can be provoked by those who are suppressing the ones who want their rights to be restored.
“If you suppress them, then you create civil war,” said Tjiriange.
The liberation struggle icon added that land should be shared among all Namibians, but preference should be given to those who lost it via colonialism.
In a separate interview with this agency at the conference, Education, Arts and Culture Minister, Katrina Hanse-Himarwa also said it is her wish that the issue of ancestral is addressed at the convention.
She said there is a fundamental misconception or perception that the claimants of ancestral land want all the land for themselves.
“There is a misunderstanding. When we say we want our ancestral land, (for example) we are not saying we want the same exact land where my great grandfather Captain Hendrik Witbooi used to reign on. That is not practical,” she said.
Hanse-Himarwa continued that it must be acknowledged that some communities lost land and are landless.
“When government buys a farm for resettlement purposes, these communities must be prioritised or at least that farm should be used for the expansion of the reserves in which they were put,” she urged.