Applied positively, delinquent behaviors seem to speak clearly enough. We ask for what we can’t get, but we are always in this direction that we must go. We normally ask for manly demands and opportunities to work, make a little money, and have self-esteem; have a roof on our heads , better schools for our children to open for their horizons of interest and to have a community and a country to be loyal to; to claim attention and have a voice.
Furthermore there are also what some might see as outlandish demands like to have more and better sex without fear or shame; to share somehow in the symbolic goods (like the cars) that are made so much of. Might sound outlandish to some, but these should not be seen as such.
Certainly they cannot be satisfied directly in our present system; they are baffling. That is why even the land issue in the country seems to be baffling and as a result the final recourse is to draw knives at each other. The land issue, for a longer period of time, has been hovering as a spear on our heads begging for a very comprehensive resolution that need to be set up to enable gradual land redistribution.
However the biggest weakness in our quest for an inclusive and robust land redistribution process as it turns out is the emergence of agenda driven radicalism.
Those who are supposed to be devising robust measures to challenge the government with robust engagements are opting for rhetorical radicalism or advocating for land grabbing. And in all honesty the idea of grabbing land and causing anarchy sounds very appetizing to a less informed youth or anyone with a lack of understanding to the dynamics of land management.
Trust me, I know what I’m talking about I was once such a willing tool of the agents of anarchy such as Affirmative Repositioning. As a landless Namibian and an individual who for a longer period of time has been a victim of unregulated high rental rates in Windhoek, I didn’t think twice to jump to the opportunity to scream for land and support land grabbing.
Sure as hell, I know many youths found themselves in the same positions and allowed themselves to be Zombies and be used by those with sordid agenda driven radicalism. Without carefully analyzing the situation and questioning the intention of the people behind it all, we jumped on the bandwagon of reciting the ‘We want land’ chorus and encouraged others to grab land using social media live from the sofas at home.
Then I began to familiarize myself with the real issues in the matter and went on an awakening spree of facts gathering. I remember having to spend nearly the entire day at the office of land servicing at the city of Windhoek one day just to understand why I couldn’t have a place to call my home in the city of the country of my birth. Did a lot of fact checking at the time and began to ask questions that the so called land activists could not answer.
As events unfolded around me, including so called land activists dubiously acquiring land and denying it, I came to the realization I was wasting my time singing choruses for the so called lad activists and their bogus to patch up the plight for landless Namibians and restore their dignity.
At this stage I came to the conclusion that no one is really innocent between the municipality and the so called land activists. I also realized that the so called land movement thrived on keeping their followers, which majority of them where the youth, in the dark.
These were a few simple and basic facts they seemed to continuously omit in their quest, such as the fact that not every open piece of land is earmarked for a residential area as some are earmarked for roads, recreational parks, industrial area, schools and etcetera.
That the cost of servicing land is an extremely expensive undertaking that need to properly be planned and budgeted for. The engineers, quantity surveyors and a whole lot of other experts that are required do not come cheap.
The so called land activists made us believe that they had lined-up a group of volunteering experts, but it’s the same volunteers that went on to send government quotations and invoices after ‘volunteering’. Perhaps, though I’m tempted to say clearly, the lads did not get the memo on the true meaning of the word. And last but not least, bureaucracy in the City Of Windhoek council has contributed to the problem.
Another piece of interesting information I stumbled upon was that a good number of people in Windhoek owe the city of Windhoek huge amounts in water and electricity. Some of these people are the ones we see driving around in fancy cars, frequenting drinking places and living it up. Despite these debts, their water is still running and their electricity is up because some money from land sales is used to supplement these debts by paying Namwater and Nampower.
They are in arrears, yet they are the loudest at criticizing, you know the type loud as a motorbike but wouldn’t bust a grape in a fruit fight. This takes my thoughts to one what is perhaps one of the biggest challenges in this country; greedy and corrupt politicians and landlords who benefit from this unfortunate situation.
This brings me to trade minister Immanuel Ngatjizeko who told us this week that the rent control bill is just about done and will be tabled in April. The government is trying to introduce measures to regulate the residential rental market in an attempt to curd the exploitation of a lot of tenants by landlords.
My question is not with implementation but whether this will work. In my honest opinion no one should have a conclusive answer on this, as much as this seem to be a noble idea on paper, but I’m not too sure about this, but I hope you can forgive my skepticism and not mistake it for pessimism. We have seen other regulatory boards fail in this country, we can only hope that the same won’t happen. Knowing Namibians, I suspect that those who will be tasked with the duty will just use that to become richer.
Secondly as long as the demand exceeds availability, the likelihood of desperate tenants being exploited will always be there, especially when neighboring Angola sorts out its economic and currency problems and then bring that influx of Angolan students into the country. Amidst using the land less masses in their smear campaign, the agents of chaos and anarchy do not seem to understand that not everyone will be able to afford to buy and maintain the land even given at a discounted price.
This I found out first hand after interviewing 10 people in the informal settlement of Havana. Surprisingly enough, land was not in their top five of immediate pressing needs, theirs they said was education for their kids, employment to put bread on the table, mobile toilets, water points, clinics and medicine. Don’t get me wrong, they made it clear that the need for land is always there, but they indicated that it simply not a pressing issue for them.
So what some of these agents of chaos with their sordid agenda driven radicalism are doing is to pretend to be fighting for the masses when they themselves are part of the elite. There is no genuine fight here, this is a bunch of power hungry individuals dying to force the direction of power in their favor. These are people who are stealing and filling their pockets at night then put Vicks in their eyes to cry with the poor.
And this is where I disagree with President Geingob, how can we eradicate poverty if enough resources are not diverted to those in extreme poverty? We cannot divert billions to land, while people can’t afford bread to eat in the morning. Land is important but it’s not critical, people are not sleeping under bridges they have roofs over their heads.
‘Final Thoughts’, if we really want to solve this land issue especially in Windhoek, let’s start by encouraging people to move to nearby towns such as Okahandja and Rehoboth where land is cheap, rent is low.
We should have turned Ramatex into free hostels for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, let government get huge piece of land and build villages for people to rent but on a cheap and in the long term work with groups like the shack dwellers to build those cheap houses with one door.
By creating availability of housing and rental flats we will not only stop greedy landlords, but silence those with sordid agendas.