Swapo Elders Appeal for Calm Among Land Activists

The Swapo Party Elders Council (SPEC) yesterday appealed for calm among the young members of the ruling party who claimed land in the leafy suburb of Klein Kuppe, while urging lawmakers to scrap outdated laws “immediately”.

However, leader of the land demonstrations, Job Amupanda, yesterday vowed that he and other “land activists” would not be cowed into shelving their plans of demanding justice around land distribution.

Amupanda has since last week maintained that his participation in the demonstration was personal, and not on behalf of the Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) for which he is the spokesperson.

“Given all these attempts I therefore announce that we (land activists) have expanded the scope and taken the leadership of the plight of all the landless people in general and the landless youth in particular,” Amupanda announced on Facebook.

“Myself and other land activists are now in charge of this project.”

SPEC Secretary Mukwaita Shanyengana yesterday said the elders’ council disapproves the actions of the land-grabbing youth, urging them to acquaint themselves with the history of the country in order to understand why the land situation is the way it is today.

The action by Amupanda and other activists was fuelled by revelations of questionable land dealings by the Windhoek City Council, where the political heads are accused of allocating prime land to themselves or their friends and relatives at hefty discounts.

Like many other Swapo politicians, Shanyengana yesterday expressed concern about the timing of the youths’ action.

“The grabbing of land and its timing this year is not a good idea at all. We disapprove what they did. But they are Swapo youth and we need to correct them,” said Shanyengana.

Shanyengana – just like Swapo Secretary General Nangolo Mbumba and Prime Minister Hage Geingob did last week – questioned the alleged land shenanigans in Windhoek.

“As councillors, this year of elections you have to look at steps you can take or prolong [postpone] things till after elections,” Shanyengana said.

Shanyengana, one of the founding staff members of the ministry of lands in 1990, conceded that the land laws used by the Windhoek Municipality and other towns are frustrating prospective land owners.

He however urged the youth to be patient and study why government’s willing-buyer, willing-seller policy is slow.

“The present colonial economic structure in Namibia does not allow a genuine agrarian reform and rural development to take place, until fundamental structural change is achieved,” Shanyengana said.

“In the long run, it is the imbalance of power that is more important than the unequal distribution of land since without a basic shift in the balance of power any reforms, resources, projects or programmes can be controlled by those who control the local and national institutions.”

Source : New Era