THE much-anticipated Second National Land Conference is less than two weeks away and the Namibian nation must not lose focus on the importance of this crucial indaba.
Over the past weeks, squabbles over who is invited to participate in this important conference have overshadowed the real purpose of the event, with some groups playing political and tribal games.
The land conference is a crucial gathering for Namibia to try and find lasting solutions to the burning land question which, if left unaddressed, could spiral the country into total chaos.
Many have questioned the composition of the list of invited guests, the agenda of the conference, the panelists and even the moderators. Some regard the Second National Land Conference as a “Swapo conference”. However, this is a time that we should bury our political, religious and tribal differences and openly and frankly discuss the land issue which affects us all, as one nation.
While some concerns that have been raised are valid, key stakeholders invited to participate in this solution-seeking conference must now shift focus to the purpose of the gathering and work on the burning issues to which lasting solutions are required.
Land is crucial for many Namibians, especially those who were displaced during the colonial era. Land was one of the major drivers of Namibia’s liberation struggle. This is an issue that needs urgent attention as failure to do so could have catastrophic consequences.
Among many other matters, the emotive issue of ancestral land needs to be resolved as we have skirted around it for too long. If left unattended, the ancestral land issue will remain a thorn in the flesh that could divide Namibians further.
President Hage Geingob recently acknowledged that the issue of ancestral land could have serious consequences, such as dividing the nation, and should be handled very carefully.
The land question is without a doubt an emotive issue affecting the majority of Namibians. The land conference must serve as a platform where the representatives of the various key groups come together to make their presentations on how they propose and expect the various issues around land to be resolved.
It would be naive to expect that we will come out with all the solutions that will be agreeable to all Namibians after the conference. This is a long process and dialogue between the various groups that depend on land is crucial to avoid chaos.
Namibia is privileged to be able to draw lessons from the mistakes made by some of our neighbours in addressing the land issue. What remains crucial is that there is need to strike a balance between addressing the issue of ancestral land while also ensuring that Namibia’s agricultural productivity is not negatively affected by whatever decisions are taken.
We urge delegates and participants in the crucial land conference to put the Namibian Nation first and work towards finding lasting solutions to the land question.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015