Nujoma wades into AR landmine

27 March 2015 Author  

front samland 27 marchFounding President Sam Nujoma has condemned the illegal land grabbing threats by Affirmative Repositioning members saying that their actions are meant to destabilize the newly appointed government. Nujoma expressed his disgust in a statement released on Thursday.

He said statements from the AR movement are highly provocative as they have the potential to derail efforts in nation building and destabilise the peace and stability people have been enjoying for the past 25 years.

“This deplorable situation constitutes a threat to the unity and cohesion of our nation,” he said.

“I strongly condemn the on-going campaign by the unruly young Namibians which is meant to incite our people at illegal urban land grabbing in our country and wish to register my displeasure at their disrespectful behaviour.”

Founding President Nujoma said the enemies of progress would always try to cause anarchy, division and disunity amongst the people of the country in order to reverse the gains of hard won freedom and Independence.

He urged the youth to stand solidly behind President Hage Geingob and give him all the support and loyalty he needed to address the socio-economic gaps that existed in the society.

The three initiators of Affirmative Repositioning on Wednesday gave the Government an ultimatum.

They said that they and the 50,000 plus youth who applied for land under the banner of Affirmative Repositioning would forcibly seize urban land if Government does not provide them with land by the end of July.

They said Government has to provide land to the youth or face the consequences.

When approached for comment on the Founding President’s statement, the AR members said they could not comment at this point claiming they had not yet received the press statement from the Sam Nujoma Foundation.

Dimbulukeni Nauyoma said they needed time to absorb everything and they would comment once they received the statement.

“We do not just respond to issues off the cuff. We will have to sit down and digest, and then we will comment,” he said.

Attempts to reach Swapo Youth League president (SPYL) Elijah Ngurare for comment proved futile.

Ngurare was one of the few politicians, who openly came out in support of the Affirmative Repositioning initiative.

During an exclusive interview with the Windhoek Observer earlier this month, Ngurare said that the mass land applications submitted through AR only came about because AR decided to follow the proper procedures for acquiring land.

He said the leaders of the AR applied for land in accordance with the advice they had received during consultations with Swapo party secretary general Nangolo Mbumba, after they illegally occupied a plot in Kleine Kuppe.

The deputy minister of land reform Bernard Swartbooi also declined to comment and referred the reporter to minister Utoni Nujoma.

“The minister or the permanent secretary would be the right people to give you that information,” he said.

Meanwhile, the statement from Nujoma has been met with mixed feelings from the public with commentators saying the statement heralds the death of Amupanda’s political career, while others commended the founding president saying his statement was long overdue.

One of the people who commented on social media questioned the authenticity of the letter and claimed that Nujoma did not write the letter.

“He did not write that letter, the signature is electronic, just because he has spoken does not mean people will step back because renting enslaves citizens,” the concerned member of the public said.

He added that Nujoma should start by condemning the sick landlords and then maybe the youth will back down.

“Nujoma was also unruly when he took up arms and waged war for the liberation struggle in 1966. Was the struggle not about land?”

Another commentator Indileni Egonga Lyiipumbu Iipinge said:“Is it the unruly young people inciting land grabbing or was it not former President Pohamba who told Aljazeera the other day that: “revolutionaries will take the land”? Interesting versions from our leaders.”

“It takes one unruly person to notice another. This is the same person that left his motherland to fight an injustice system....hmmmm, he must be afraid that history will repeat itself,” Talishy Ya Ben Kadhila commented.

“What? He condemns, but he didn’t come up with a solution. What does he say? I mean, people need land, so what does he have in mind to solve the issue. What is the alternative? Say something that makes sense,” Mathew Veldskoen said.

Nujoma’s statement comes amidst claims by Affirmative Repositioning leaders that their lives are in danger because ‘the powerful’ have allegedly devised what they call the ‘lethal strategy’.

Speaking at a press conference held on Wednesday, suspended SPYL spokesperson Job Amupanda said that he, Dimbulukweni Nauyoma and George Kambala were not scared and would soldier on.

“If the powerful cut our lives short for speaking the truth and standing up for our generation, history will absolve us. Our families will bury us proudly, and our generation will continue the struggle,” he said.

Meanwhile, AR leaders claimed this week that about 50,157 young people countrywide had so far handed in their applications for land under the Affirmative Repositioning initiative.

The AR figures show that Walvis Bay had the highest number of youths who registered with 9,547, while Opuwo had the least number with just one.

Amupanda said that at least 25,000 people were unable to submit their applications for a variety of reasons.

He said people should realise that the number of youth who urgently require land was much higher than those who managed to submit their applications.

He also clarified that they were not after farms but land to build houses.

“Our fight is not for farms; we want a place we can call home. We want houses not farms. The story of farms has nothing to do with us and our struggle,” Amupanda said.

In November last year, the activists gave the authorities nine months to make residential land available to the over 50,000 applicants.

They threatened to take the land by force if the authorities did not meet their demand.

“Land will be taken; it shall be taken if by 31 July we have not been given land.

“If our objective was to grab land then we would have given the authorities two weeks but we have given them a lot of time,” he said.

Permanent secretary in the ministry of land reform Dr Nashilongo Shivute was this week quoted in one of the local dailies saying Government would not allow unlawful seizure of land.

She said that land redistribution would only take place within the confines of the Namibian constitution, which did not allow anyone to take land without compensation or via land grabs.

However, Amupanda said such statements were the talk of comfortable people who had everything.

“Stop wasting time by saying no one will grab land, and rather try to solve the problem,” he said.

A confident Amupanda said the youth will start building soon after occupying the land.

“People should not think that we do not have money to build, because all the people who applied for land have the money to start building,” he stated.

He added that he has a master’s degree and works as a lecturer so he can afford to start building and so can everyone else who applied.

“Many of our sisters buy Brazilian hair for N$2,000 dollars, but if they had land they would use that money to buy building materials,” he said.

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