Geingob appoints commission of inquiry for land rights

21 Feb 2019 18:20pm
WINDHOEK, 21 FEB (NAMPA) – President Hage Geingob on Thursday appointed a Commission of Inquiry into claims of ancestral land rights and restitution, which he said will emphasise urgency, impartiality, professionalism and fairness in the execution of its mandate.
Geingob called upon the commission to “identify statutory and policy reforms that will help buttress our efforts to redress communities that were subject to untold injustices which resulted in the dispossession of their ancestral land”.
He asked the commission to be aware that their work needs to produce evidence and bear Namibia’s history in mind.
“I ask that you be mindful that the work that you are expected to carry out should be evidence-based and enriched by national, regional and international experience, while never losing sight of the unique characteristics of Namibia’s past experience of colonialism and apartheid occupation,” said Geingob.
The 15 members of the commission are Gaob Immanuel /Gaseb, Shafimana Ueitele, Phanuel Kaapama, Ryno van der Merwe, Helmke von Bach, Uhuru Dempers, Marius Kudumo, Lazarus Hangula, Willem Konjore, Neels Kooper, Josef van der Westhuizen, Anna Fredricks, Nadia le Hane, Jeaneth Kuhana, Ingenesia Murangi.
Ueitele and Kaapama will serve the commission as chairperson and deputy chairperson respectively.
“The commission will take on their duty without fear, without favour and without prejudice listen to every citizen, listen to every group and accept every evidential proof and every evidential burden and we will at the end of our road make our recommendations to you,” Ueitele promised on his part.
The commission was further established to inquire into and report generally on the claims of the ancestral land rights and restitution to groups and individuals as well as commissioning of a study to identify communities who have lost ancestral land.
The commission will also establish the sizes of the lost ancestral land and their boundaries; and determine the limit of the pre-independence ancestral land claims.
It also needs to identify alternative restorative measures to restore social justice as well as ensure economic empowerment of the affected communities; and report the use of the reparation from the former colonial powers for restitution.
Geingob said the formulation of the legislation to cater for ancestral land claims and restitution should come through the commission as well.
The commission needs to undertake desktop reviews, interview key informants, individual and group consultations and visit any part of the country and relevant institutions nationwide.
The inquiry is also required to submit an interim report within nine months and a final report within three months of the submission of the interim report to Geingob.