Nikanor’s shady deal

06 February 2014

Really, some people simply have no shame. The latest case in point being, Deputy Minister for Veterans Affairs Hilma Nikanor’s unsavoury use of her name and position to acquire land from the City of Windhoek at a bargain-basement price.

Windhoek CEO Niilo Taapopi is equally guilty for acquiescing to Nikanor’s shameless and outrageous demands for special treatment.

One can only describe the revelation that the municipality sold an 817 square metre plot to Nikanor in Kleine Kuppe by private treaty for the ridiculous sum of N$345,000-00 as shocking.

One knowledgeable property expert said that at current prices, land in Kleine Kuppe does not sell for less than N$1,000 to N$1,500 a square metre, meaning that at a minimum she should have paid between N$817,000 and N$1,22 million.

This is clearly a case of favouritism and looks suspiciously like using one’s position to gain gratification by corrupt means.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for that toothless dog known as the Anti-corruption Commission and its director Paulus Noa to take any action.

These types of underhand deals between top politicians and public officials have become the norm in this country, and no one finds it in any way unusual or wrong.

The City Council originally set the price for the plot Nikanor wanted to buy in Kleine Kuppe at N$1,078,400-00.

However, after she pleaded poverty and shed copious amounts of crocodile tears the council felt sympathy for her and promptly lowered the price to 345,000-00.

One can scarcely believe the rationale CEO Niilo Taapopi gave for the decision to lower the price.

“Because of her portfolio (national leader) while the policy addressing the sale of single residential properties to national leaders is being developed.”

What the heck! Since when do so-called ‘national leaders’ have rights that other Namibians citizens do not have?

Article 10 of Chapter 3 of the Namibian constitution that deals with Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms unequivocally states the following:

Article 10 Equality and Freedom from Discrimination

(1) All persons shall be equal before the law.

(2) No persons may be discriminated against on the grounds of sex, race, colour,

ethnic origin, religion, creed or social or economic status.

The sale of the Kleine Kuppe plot to Nikanor at a massive discount is clearly discrimination based on “social or economic status” and therefore unconstitutional and illegal – meaning forbidden by law.

The mere fact, that the City of Windhoek has started developing a policy for sale of residential property to ‘national leaders’ is thus a priori unconstitutional and illegal.

Have we reached the point where we now accept that politicians and top public servants are the new aristocracy?

Has God anointed them with absolute powers to do whatever they please with this country and made them above the law?

Has feudalism made a comeback in Namibia with ministers and their deputies representing the upper nobility, senior public servants and rich businesspeople the lower nobility and the rest of us the peasants?

The tragedy is that both Nikanor and Taapopi are so crass, amoral and completely lacking in any sense of propriety that they see nothing wrong with this.

When former Minister of Regional and Local Government Jerry Ekandjo announced a ban on public auctions of municipal land, we should have known there would be a catch.

The reason the minister gave for suspending the auctions sounded perfectly reasonable at the time.

He said property developers bidding at auctions pushed the price of land up to astronomical levels, and thereby made it impossible for the average person to purchase land for residential use.

Little did we know that the move had less to do with assisting the average person than making it possible for politicians and senior public servants to obtain land at cut-rate prices.

We probably all thought that by suspending land auctions Government aimed to introduce a fairer system of selling land that would remain transparent and not subject to manipulation.

That clearly is not the case because the system has become murkier, with deals seemingly concluded in dark corners or in an underhand manner that squarely aims at favouring the political and business elite.

The problem with us Namibians is that we are so passive, pusillanimous and completely lacking in backbone that we never stand up for our rights.



The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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