STATE House has poured cold water on media reports from Harare last week that Namibia will embark on an agrarian revolution, similar to Zimbabwe’s programme, which saw land being grabbed from white farmers, without compensation.
President Hage Geingob was in Zimbabwe last week to open the 27th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo.
President Robert Mugabe hosted a State banquet for Geingob, and the country’s government-owned newspaper, The Herald quoted Geingob as saying that ‘he will use the opportunity to learn how to embark on an agrarian revolution, following Zimbabwe’s successful land reform programme’.
The media reports have caused an uproar in Namibia, especially among the white community, who own the majority of agricultural land the country, and who fear that their farms will be taken from them without compensation.
Zimbabwe’s chaotic land reform process has impoverished a country, which was once seen as the breadbasket of Southern Africa.
This week, State House Press Secretary, Albertus Aochamub, told Confidente that although Namibia will prioritise land reform, the process will be conducted within the confines of the country’s constitution.
“President Geingob shared the view that after 27 years of freedom, the land question remains critical. He stressed the fact that Namibia will need to prioritise land reform, within the confines of the provisions of the constitution, and the laws of the land,” Aochamub said.
“Nothing will be done outside the law, and all property rights, including over land, are fully protected. He (Geingob) further shared with the host, the fact that all matters will be openly discussed at the country’s second land conference in September, where further proposals will be considered to accelerate land redistribution and reform.”
According to Geingob’s speech he made at the State banquet in Zimbabwe, he said that while the neighbouring country had taken a shortcut, in addressing its land issue, Namibia was going to take the long road, instead.
“Some time ago, when referring to the land issue, I mentioned the fact that the way Zimbabwe dealt with the land issue is similar to a woman who gives birth to a child, via caesarean section.
“The process is painful for a time, but when the wound is healed, the problem is solved, and you have a child born. Namibia is taking the long and protracted route of natural birth.
“This means we will have to endure prolonged labour pains, without the guarantee of a successful childbirth, as can be seen by the fact that our land is still not equally shared amongst our people,” he said.
Geingob also said that the land question should not be confined to redistribution, but should also encompass the issue of increasing agricultural productivity.
“The emotive and complex issues, surrounding land reform, require a sincere but difficult conversation. Land should be one of our most productive assets. The land question should, therefore, not be confined to redistribution, but also take into account the need to increase agricultural productivity.
“As such, the underlying concerns regarding underutilisation of agricultural land must be addressed. We hope to learn more from our brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe, regarding this aspect of the land issue,” Geingob added.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015