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Land conference delay welcomed

by   Rodney Pienaar
News Flash

Postponement of the Second National Land Conference that was slated for September is good as it will allow the Landless People’s Movement (LPM) to draft reasonable land resolutions the Spokesperson of LPM, Paul Thomas told The Villager.

The conference has been cancelled to give suf?cient time for Namibians to tackle issues that have not been targeted in the ?rst land conference. “We will continue with our plans as the LPM and host our land conference. We are going to draft our resolutions. Through this, we will produce a land manifesto which we will popularise amongst the people. This manifesto will guide government as a tool,” Thomas noted. He further added that the cancellation would give LPM time to draft a more meaningful resolution and the LPM said it would host its conference this past week from the 7th to the 8th respectively.

According to Thomas, the postponement is not a surprise to the LPM but a clear indication that the state is not yet ready to address the land issue hence the delay. “We have been expecting a delay from the start. We are aware that this is just a move by the government to side step the land question,” Thomas said.

He added that the land issue needs to be dealt with absolutely open and free mindsets for a better and equal land distribution amongst Namibians. However, the President of the of?cial opposition party DTA, McHenry Venaani said that the postponement of the land conference is an indication that the state does not consider all stakeholders for the national issue of this magnitude.

“No clear reasons have been given for the cancellation of the national land conference; this only means that the Swapo government is involved in party politics with national issues. They talk about political accountability and transparency but still not transparent enough as they failed to provide the list of bene?ciaries that have been resettled on resettlement farms,” he said.

He further added that the state has to set a suitable time frame needed for public consultations in advance now that the conference has been postponed and should stop all resettlement activities and farm purchases in the meantime. According to Venaani, the DTA’s land conference was slated for this week but due to the cancellation of the national land conference has been postponed as the party had planned to produce a position paper which was to be presented at the national land conference.

“We are no longer aware of the agenda of the national land conference, so there is no pi in having our land conference if we are not conscious of the programme of the national land conference. We as the (of?cial opposition) party are supposed to go and table an alternative position at the conference so we must know what the issues at stake are,” he said. He added that by postponing the national conference the state has no idea on how to resolve burning land issues of the country. Last week President Hage Geingob announced at the statehouse that the land conference had been postponed due to letters.