Corruption in resettlement programme can’t be ruled out: Geingob

06 Oct 2018 13:40pm
WINDHOEK, 06 OCT (NAMPA) – President Hage Geingob has weighed in on Government’s pre-2010 resettlement list, saying corruption in the programme cannot be ruled out even though no evidence has been brought forth to prove such claims.
Geingob made these remarks during his closing statement at the second National Land Conference in the capital on Friday.
He was responding to demands from delegates to the conference who wanted Government’s comprehensive resettlement list to be revealed.
Those demanding the list say the resettlement programme is skewed and has mainly benefited the political elite and their cronies.
Okakarara Constituency councillor Vetaruhe Kandorozu, who was also a delegate to the land indaba, wanted to know why the list of those who benefited since the inception of the programme is not available.
“What are you hiding? We want that list to be made public before the end of the conference,” Kandorozu said on Thursday.
He continued: “We have the number of resettled farmers (549), while beneficiaries are 5 338. Where did this number come from if we don't have the names to complement these numbers?”
When Geingob took to the podium on the last day of the convention, he said numerous allegations have been made regarding the pre-2010 list and this troubles him.
“No evidence has been provided to support the allegations of corruption and while corruption can’t be ruled out, it is not inconceivable that the challenge around releasing the list has to do with poor record keeping,” the president stated briefly.
He also indicated that trust would be gained through accountability and transparency in the programme.
On the opposing end, suspicion is sowed through secrecy and evasiveness, Geingob said.
“We will restore and increase trust and fairness in the process,” he said.
To mitigate the challenge of poor record keeping, Geingob promised that concerted efforts will be made to find or use the available information to create a complete resettlement list, even if it means conducting an audit of all the resettlement farms.
The president also acknowledged that the programme has been less than satisfactory and took note of concerns raised about the resettlement process and criteria.
Geingob then took issue with the challenges faced by resettled farmers who sometimes do not have the requisite skills and technical know-how to run farms sustainably and profitably.
To address this dilemma, he proposed that newly resettled farmers be linked to experienced commercial farmers for training, coaching and mentoring, as well as provision of shared services through the establishment of cooperatives.