Geingob is selling Namibia - Venaani . . . as PDM takes government to court over farm lease to Russian

19 October 2018 Author   Kaula Nhongo

Official Opposition leader, McHenry Venaani, has accused President Hage Geingob of selling the country after it emerged that government sold four farms to a Russian billionaire.Official Opposition leader, McHenry Venaani, has accused President Hage Geingob of selling the country after it emerged that government sold four farms to a Russian billionaire.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Venaani accused Geingob and his administration of selling the country to “every person who has money”.
“Hage’s rhetoric does not measure his actions; his government is failing the people of Namibia. His administration is selling our country to the highest bidder.
“You (Geingob) are setting a precedent of unacceptable proportions in our country… these people are not ready to match the talk. I want to plead with the people of Namibia to open their eyes and see that the government is running this country down,” Venaani said.
Government is reported to have sold the four additional farms outside Windhoek for more than N$43 million to Russian billionaire Rashid Sardarov, despite a resolution at the just ended Second National Land Conference to expropriate land owned by absentee landlords.
Sardarov bought the farms measuring 17,000 hectares on 28 September, donated them to the State, and will now lease them from the government for 99 years.
According to The Namibian, the flamboyant businessman wrapped up this transaction about a week before national leaders met in Windhoek and complained about foreign ownership of land.
Sardarov bought the farms through his Switzerland-based company, Comsar Properties SA, to add to the 28, 000 hectares he bought in 2013 at Dordabis, south-east of Windhoek.
In light of this, the official opposition said it is busy preparing an application for a court interdict to have the transaction declared null and void.
According to Venaani, his party will get a court order against the Ministry of Land Reform, Office of the President and Prime Minister as well as the Ombudsman, on why they are resettling a foreigner on Namibian land.
“We cannot allow such situations to go ahead; we have a solemn responsibility to protect the interest of the people of Namibia. We will not sit idly while government is resettling a billionaire on government land. We want to be in court before the end of the week because we believe this is a serious grave injustice to generations to come.
“I want to make it categorically clear that the Popular Democratic Movement is not against any Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), in fact, we welcome it.  What we are saying is that it should not be in the form that it denies the rights of Namibians to flourish in their own country. With what parameters are we welcoming the FDI in the country?”
In his view, government resettled a foreigner by allowing him to lease the land without offering the land to a Namibian initially.
“This is a clear case of resettlement, shame on you Hage Geingob, shame on you and your administration. You were denying that you were not hiding anything; you are coming out after the fact of the congress telling us you have signed a good deal.
“Do not fool us; all you did is that you took an opportunity to cut a deal. What if he decides not to put any development on the land?” 
According to Venaani, government was busy pushing deals to benefit certain individuals.
“A lot of other people have been oiled in this deal; I will not be surprised if this guy is a financier to the ruling party’s campaign, I will not be surprised if some of the senior officials in the ministry of lands received money under the table to let this deal go through.
“If it was a transaction then the ministry of finance was supposed to be involved. The mere fact that the minister of land reform has signed the deal, tells us that this man is very powerful. I am surprised that Utoni Nujoma said his ministry had no interest in that land. That is the most arable land in our country,” Venaani said. 
According to reports, Sardarov approached the land reform ministry last November offering a N$24 million donation to the State, in exchange for permission to buy the four farms from private owners.
Regulations state that the government has the first option to buy agricultural or commercial farms put up for sale by private individuals.
It is reported that Nujoma rejected the N$24 million donation offer, and indicated that the government was not interested in buying the farms, paving the way for the Russian to snap them up since he was already in talks with the owners.
Nujoma, however, attached several conditions to the Russian buying the land. 
According to the Republikein, the Russian businessman will pay N$160,000 (around N$13,000 a month) to rent the four farms from 2018 to 2019.


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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