Job’s dilemma

24 July 2015
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The ill-conceived notion that people will wake up on 31 July and occupy Municipal or Government land without paying compensation is a giant con being peddled by the AR movement.

Like we have said on many occasions, Government needs to do more to ensure that affordable serviced urban land is readily available for citizens to build their homes.

With that in mind, Cabinet recently announced recommendations that it feels would make land availability and affordability a reality if these are passed into law.

Whether these recommendations are the panacea to our urban land challenges remains to be tested.

President Hage Geingob announced this week that he will be meeting with representatives of the Affirmative Repositioning movement today at State House in an effort to find a workable solution to the urban land crisis.

It is our hope that the AR movement will take this dialogue seriously and avoid any grandstanding that will throw a spanner in the works.

It is also important for Government to be bound by any resolutions that would come out of this dialogue.

Apart from dialogue, we don’t see how the urban land problem will be resolved in a manner that satisfies both the state and those seeking cheap urban land.

What is now certain is that Government will not be cowed into letting citizens help themselves to land as if Namibia is the modern version of the Wild West.

It will be foolhardy and plain silly for anyone to think that the Government security machinery will be eating cake while watching people illegally occupy land.

Property rights should be protected at all cost if Namibia is to remain an investor friendly country. The consequences of not doing so will be devastating for everyone.

Namibia’s land activists would better be advised to use the chilling Marikana Massacre as a case study on how Governments react to anyone who thinks they can threaten capitalist interests without consequences.

Job and his crew can pontificate all year long about the consequences of failing to meet their 31 July deadline, but the truth is their options are limited outside a meaningful dialogue with Government.

If he makes a climb down from his militant tone, will he be seen as a sell out by those who have bought into his radical stance on resolving the land issue?

Will that make him a coward? Certainly not especially if the dialogue leads to tangible results.

Namibia has always been a leader in the way we do things compared to our peers on the African continent. Let that show in the way we are going to resolve this issue that threatens the very fabric of our society since independence.

Interestingly, the AR saga has thrown a lifeline to Geingob contrary to popular belief that the movement will destabilise Geingob’s government.

The decision transferring negotiations from the party level to state level shows that he is not leaving things to chance.

It is an open secret that the Swapo party is divided on how to deal with the AR movement and such divisions were likely to weaken Geingob’s position ahead of the 2017 elective congress.

By expelling the AR trio and their sympathiser Elijah Ngurare, Geingob used his influence to make it clear that Swapo, unlike other parties on the continent, does not condone any acts of violence and the illegal occupation of land.

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