Rukoro questions authenticity of resettlement list
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02 November 2018 Author   Kaula Nhongo
Ovaherero Paramount Chief, Vekuii Rukoro, suspects that names of prominent politicians and others close to the ruling SWAPO Party were surgically removed from the newly-released resettlement list.
He said this on Wednesday during a press conference in Windhoek.
Rukoro claimed that the resettlement list does not add up to logic as the names of people believed and known to have been resettled seem to be missing from the list.
He did not say who those people were.
“It stands to reason that there is more to the puzzle than meets the eye with regard to the government’s resettlement programme and the only action that can possibly unlock this conundrum is for the government to institute a land audit,” Rukoro said.
He suggested that government interrogate the original mandate of the resettlement programme, its goals and objectives, operations and implementation to date.
“We call upon the president to develop more interest in the management of the business of the State and not to leave the management of land to chance,” he said.
The “full resettlement” list was released through the Office of the Ombudsman last week after a country-wide outcry.
The beneficiaries' list had sparked intense debate between the government and various civil society organizations which have been calling for its release over the past few years, with the program itself heavily criticised by various groups, including the Landless People's Movement (LPM), for being disproportionately in favour of certain ethnic groups at the expense of others.
Ombudsman John Walters first asked for the list in May this year, but officials from the Land Reform Ministry said they needed to get a legal opinion from the Attorney General first.
The ombudsman then threatened the ministry with legal action if they continued withholding the list meant for the benefit of the public.
According to reports, several government officials have benefited from the program since 2011.
Among those are former ministers, deputy ministers, permanent secretaries and directors who were resettled across the country on 99-year leaseholds.
Some of the beneficiaries are politicians and senior public service officials who earn enough to qualify for a loan from a commercial institution, such as the Agricultural Bank of Namibia (Agribank) to buy farms, but opted to get free land from government, depriving the poor masses, who are the intended beneficiaries of the program.
Among those resettled is former deputy lands minister, Martin Kapewasha, who also served as Namibia’s High Commissioner to South Africa. He is resettled at farm Monty No 329 in the Kunene Region with Chief Herman Iipumbu of Uukwambi.
Also resettled in the Kunene Region is former Outapi Constituency Councillor, Simon Tataati Shileka, Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism Bernadette Jagger, former Omusati Governor Sackey Kayone and Deputy Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, Ester Anna Nghipondoka.
Both Kayone and Hipondoka have been resettled in the mountainous region since 2003.

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