Ovaherero and Nama authorities blast ‘gimmick’ ancestral land commission

10 Jul 2019 18:00pm
WINDHOEK, 10 JUL (NAMPA) – The Ovaherero Traditional Authority (OTA) and the Nama Traditional Leaders Association (NTLA) on Wednesday took a swipe at the presidential commission of inquiry on ancestral land claims and restitution, saying it will never result in the return of their ancestral land.
The traditional leaders or their members will also not submit any ancestral land claims, as required by the commission.
This position was made known at a media conference in the capital on Monday by OTA’s paramount chief, Advocate Vekuii Rukoro and NTLA’s Johannes Isaack.
On the onset, Rukoro was clear that just like they boycotted the Second National Land Conference in 2018 because they felt it was a “gimmick”, the same can be said about the commission.
“It is a total and unmitigated waste of time and state resources,” Rukoro said.
“For our government, the issue is just a political football to be used and played and dropped when the elections are over, period. It’s in that context that the presidential commission should be seen and rejected for what it is. It is an election gimmick that will not restitute an inch of stolen land to any of our people who are parading before this modern-day mobile Turnhalle mobile commissioners.”
Further, the government’s continued sale of their ancestral land and commercial agricultural land to foreigners – referring to the impending sale of Erindi Game Reserve - is an indication that it is not serious about dealing decisively with the shortage of land that confronts the majority of Namibians.
The potential sale of Erindi is before the Namibia Competition for approval.
“OTA and NTLA join all progressive forces in Namibia and around the world in opposing the sale of our ancestral land called Erindi to yet another foreign speculator who has overnight been conferred the historic honor of a special investor – apart from the legal one being a status investor,” Rukoro added.
In February, President Hage Geingob appointed the commission to among others investigate claims of ancestral land and restitution and make appropriate recommendations for implementation.
The commission, through its spokesperson Norman Kangootui indicated that it was unperturbed by the traditional authorities' remarks and vowed to continue with the mandate for which it was created.