Landless Youth Submit 14 000 Applications

The Windhoek Municipality on Friday received 14 059 applications for residential land from mostly young professionals who showed an extraordinary sense of solidarity by staging a mass demonstration organised by the ‘Affirmative Repositioning’ movement.

The municipality on Thursday circulated a notice mostly on social media platforms in which it urged would-be demonstrators to refrain from their plans, saying procedures for demonstrating were not followed and that their action would therefore be illegal.

However, Job Amupanda, the former Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) spokesperson who is behind the Affirmative Repositioning campaign, countered the claims by producing a letter signed by police chief Sebastian Ndeitunga, giving the demonstration the go-ahead.

On Friday morning, young Namibians thronged the front space of the Windhoek Municipality’s head offices – armed with their applications for residential land.

The Affirmative Repositioning group had originally targeted submitting 2 000 applications, but to the shock of all and sundry, the number rose to 14 059 applications within hours.

The terrific response saw a sea of young Namibians arriving with their applications, affecting traffic flow in the city centre, especially in Independence Avenue.

As opposed to the typical style of Namibian demonstrations, Affirmative Repositioning leaders made sure that theirs was a mass movement of substance by ensuring the municipality acknowledged receipt of all 14 059 applications.

Leaders of the demonstration had drafted a template of the application letter and demonstrators only had to fill in their personal details and attach a copy of their identity documents.

Proactively the template was circulated on social media such as Facebook from where demonstrators simply downloaded it and filled in their personal information on the dotted lines.

Amupanda and two other SPYL leaders – George Kambala and Dimbulukeni Nauyoma – have already paid the price of their activism by being suspended by the ruling party Swapo.

Amupanda, who voluntarily resigned from his SPYL spokesperson position two weeks ago, yesterday said he was pleased with the response by the landless masses.

“It serves no purpose to be seated in the SPYL offices issuing statements while doing nothing about issues in practical terms,” he said.

The Windhoek Municipality CEO Niilo Taapopi promised on Friday that the municipality would, in writing, acknowledge receipt of the housing applications in one week.

The demonstration was fuelled primarily by media reports of Windhoek’s high land prices, the cumbersome process ordinary Namibians have to endure when applying for land, as well as Mayor Agnes Kafula’s questionable allocation of land to the country’s elite and those with good political connections.

Amupanda told demonstrators that people in Katutura never paid for land when they were relocated from the Old Location.

The plea was that the municipality should service land and sell it to the people at reasonable prices for them to build their own houses.

“It (people building their own houses) may not be in one day but we will get there. Rome was not built in one day,” said Amupanda.

“Today we are making history. For the past 24 years it has never happened where thousands of applications are made in one day.”

The demonstrators, who were mostly youth from all backgrounds, chanted “we want land, we want land”.

Amupanda expressed his appreciation towards Taapopi and municipal spokesperson Joshua Amukugo, whom he said were handling the matter well.

The municipality was given until July 31, 2015 to reply to each of the applications that were handed in on Friday. However, there will be a series of events to follow up on the applications building up to July 31, Amupanda noted.

Source : New Era