07 Oct 2018 16:20pm
WINDHOEK, 06 OCT (NAMPA) The second National Land Conference, which started off in the eyes of critics as a political gimmick and predetermined gathering, has been hailed by some of its initial skeptics as a genuine indaba, where Namibians addressed the longstanding land issue.
These sentiments were expressed by several delegates who were interviewed by Nampa after the conference's conclusion on Friday.
Human rights lawyer, John Nakuta, who entered the hall on Monday with doubts, said his skepticism was based on a lack of data that was supposed to inform the decisions and discussions at the conference.
He indicated that he questioned how genuine the conference would be.
Maybe we were really wrong in saying that it seems a decision was taken before even people came. Maybe it was there and it changed during the conference, the lawyer said.
On Friday, Nakuta could only sum the five-day conference up in two words - resounding success.
Whichever way, certainly people were allowed to (speak freely). I personally was allowed to speak my mind without intimidation.
Coming from a human rights background, Nakuta was particularly impressed with the manner in which the subject on ancestral land claims and restitution was tackled.
I am particularly impressed that the issue of ancestral land, which I am very passionate about, seems to now be firmly put on the agenda, he said.
The conference resolved that a commission of inquiry be instituted to look into the complexity of ancestral land claims and possible redresses.
Nakuta also presented a document on ancestral rights from a human rights perspective at the indaba.
Despite having had some doubts before the conference, unionist Philip Munenguni was also satisfied with the majority of resolutions taken at the gathering.
We were also doubting and there were some assumptions from the public, and it is their democratic right to criticise. What is important is for people to attend and see what is really happening here, Munenguni said.
The five-day conference ended on Friday, resulting in 169 resolutions to be submitted to Cabinet for further interrogation before approval.
Thereafter, the resolutions will be taken to Parliament.