Venaani tears into govt for resettling Russian oligarch

18 Oct 2018 16:40pm
WINDHOEK, 18 OCT (NAMPA) – The deal which saw Russian billionaire Rashid Sardarov buy four farms and then donate to Government in order to lease it for 99 years is de facto resettling a foreigner, the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) has said.
PDM President McHenry Venaani said at a media conference on Thursday that under no circumstances do foreigners qualify to be resettled under the current resettlement criteria in Namibia.
Venaani’s comments come on the back of media reports that Sardarov bought four farms outside Windhoek for around N.dollars 43 million, donating them to the State and now renting the same farms from the government for 99 years.
This transaction, according to Venaani, is a classic example that Namibia is “for sale to the highest bidder”.
“His [Hage Geingob] government is failing the people; the people of Namibia. His administration is that of cutting deals to the highest bidder and they are selling our country to the highest bidder,” a clearly agitated Venaani vented.
The politician then questioned the timing of the deal, which was struck just under two weeks before the second National Land Conference, which resolved that foreign-owned agricultural land should be expropriated with just compensation.
Venaani premised his argument on government’s resettlement criteria, which among others stipulates that for an individual to be resettled, such a person must be a Namibian citizen.
“It is sad that the Russian showed interest in buying land and the ministry did not object to that. They said if you buy the land, you must donate it back to the government. The minute those farms were donated to government, they became government property.”
Venaani further charged that there is no resettlement criteria in this country that gives rights to foreigners to be resettled.
“This is a clear case of resettlement. You have resettled a foreigner.”
He further claimed that top officials from the land reform ministry and government received kickbacks to push such a deal through before the land conference.
“We can’t allow such things to go unchallenged.”
Venaani said the PDM is left with no option but to challenge the deal though an urgent court interdict to have the deal reversed as it is not in the best interest of the Namibian people.
To this effect, the party launched a litigation campaign under the banner ‘HELP US TO STOP THE ROT’.