By Elvis Muraranganda
PRESIDENT Hage Geingob says he is open to consult with those calling for restitution on ancestral land but warned that the sins of colonialists and German settlers who forced many Namibians off their land before independence should not be brought upon their children.
“In terms of ancestral land, we welcome proposals from all concerned Namibians so that we are able to reach a national consensus before proceeding with new measures to address the land problem,” Geingob stressed.
“Furthermore, let us all bear in mind that we should desist from visiting the sins of the fathers on the children of today.”
Geingob was addressing multitudes of crowds at Rundu in the Kavango East region in celebration of the country’s 27th Independence anniversary.
The issue of ancestral land has caused a public uproar in the country particularly among the OvaHerero and Nama communities who lost land to German settlers during the colonial period which was also categorised by a 19044-08 genocide which misplaced and robbed many of lives, possession including land.
The two communities have since been placing pressure on Government to enact laws and provisions that will cater for restitution on ancestral land lost giving birth to the Landless People’s Movement.
Also, Government has instituted a resettlement programme under the ‘willing-seller, willing buy’ module stands accused of monumentally failing in redressing the effects the colonial and apartheid eras.
“Of course, one question I ask when addressing land is, who the owners of Windhoek and surrounding areas are.”
It is the President’s belief that the San always seem to be left out of the discussion on land even though they, more than any other group of Namibians, have more of a right to claim a large proportion of this country’s land.
While highlighting that some German settlers stole land from Namibians, Geingob continued: “Now on that piece of land, a white boy Harold Payne and a black boy Hage Geingob were born.”
“Harold rightfully inherited the land from his father since he was born there. Although I was also born on that very piece of land, I am denied to also own that land.”
“That is the problem. I had to buy the land instead of grabbing it, because our Constitution emphasises the fact that we should apply fairness in governance.”
Geingob maintained that land is an emotive issue and in order to interrogate the land problem history must be revisited.
“When the Germans colonised Namibia in 1884, they grabbed the land and kept it until 1915, following World War One, when South Africa took over most of the land.”
He continued: “From 1915 to 1966, there was no armed struggle waged by Namibians to reclaim their stolen land until the International Court of Justice threw out Namibia’s justifiable case based on technicalities.”
The President indicated that it was at this time when one of the country’s gallant sons coined the term: “We are our own liberators, and we shall cross many rivers of blood before we achieve our freedom’’.
According to him, it was the ruling Swapo of which he is the leader, that united Namibians to fight for independence and to fight for land and hence the party cannot be against Namibians owning land.
“We are committed to addressing the land issue and this is why I have alluded to the fact that we need to revisit the willing buyer willing seller concept which we adopted to adhere to Resolution 435.”
“We have exhausted the concept because after 27 years, the process is slow in satisfying the wishes of the majority of Namibians.”
Geingob added that this means there is a need for the country to refer back to the Constitution which allows for the expropriation of land with fair compensation. He said, this should not be done in isolation from foreign ownership of land, especially absentee land owners.
“If we are committed to achieving further economic growth and maintaining peace, then everyone should be open to new approaches.”
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015