Three Objections Filed Against Zambezi Tobacco Project

The Zambezi Communal Land Board has officially received three objections against the land application for the planned tobacco plantation in Zambezi Region.

This was confirmed on Monday by the Zambezi Communal Land Board chairperson Regina Ndopu-Lubinda, but she refused to divulge any details pertaining to the content of the objections.

“I can confirm we received three objections. I cannot reveal the content at this point because we are still processing the applications,” she said.

Namibia Oriental Tobacco applied for the land situated in the Liselo communal area, which falls under the Mafwe Traditional Authority, to grow maize and tobacco.

Ndopu-Lubinda said the land board would make its final decision in due course and then forward it to ministerial heads to make the final decision on whether the company should be awarded the land on which they want to set up the N$14 billion project.

“Once we are done processing the application we will make the reasons public, but at this point in time it will be unfair for the applicant to learn through the media about the objections without us officially informing them,” said Ndopu-Lubinda.

She said the board was still waiting for “some outstanding documents from the applicant before we can make a final decision”.

The project is the brainchild of Swapo Party bigwig Armas Amukwiyu and his Chinese business partners.

Amukwiyu told this publication that his company was yet to receive official communication from the land board regarding the objections.

“There have been telephonic communications here and there, but nothing official,” said Amukwiyu.

In April Chinese Ambassador to Namibia Xin Shunkang said tobacco produced at the mooted plantation in Zambezi Region is not meant for local consumption but rather for the lucrative Chinese market.

Last week the country’s health minister Dr Bernard Haufiku publicly opposed the project and called on all health conscious Namibians to fight it tooth and nail.

Amukwiyu responded at the time saying: “Our constitution allows everybody to express their opinions and the minister is no different. He is part of government. The project will be established through government structures of which he is part.”

The project already received environmental clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.

Source : New Era