Congo Brazzaville Seeks Land in Namibia (allAfrica.com)

Congo Brazzaville has officially asked the Namibian government to donate a portion of land, information minister Tjekero Tweya confirmed yesterday.

The decision by the Republic of Congo to approach Namibia with the land proposal is part of several bilateral agreements signed between the two countries.

The request for land was made through the Ministry of Land Reform which is negotiating the deal with the country situated just north of Angola. Tweya made the remarks at a media briefing on Cabinet resolutions taken on Tuesday.

“They have requested for a piece of land in Namibia. I just don’t know whether it’s here (Windhoek) or somewhere else,” he said.

It is not clear whether, if Namibia donates land to Brazzaville, this will be contradicting a Cabinet decision to ban the sale of land to foreigners.

Brazzaville appears to be asking the land because it also donated a plot to Namibia in Congo.

Namibia acquired a piece of land in the port city of Pointe Noire for the construction of a state-of-the-art trade and industrial centre. This project was expected to link the Namibian export market to Central and West Africa through Congo.

Like any other major government projects, this too has stalled. Tweya is not new to the transaction. He was involved when Namibia received a portion of land in Brazzaville when he was the deputy minister of trade.

That plot from Brazzaville to Namibia has been withdrawn for another plot elsewhere in Congo, Tweya said, adding that the allocation of the new plot has not been concluded and that papers have not been signed.

The reason Congo Brazzaville withdrew the initial plot offered to allocate a new one because it was close to the sea and the proposed Namibian industrial area would have had a negative environmental impact.

Unlike their counterparts in Brazzaville who are maximising their agreement, the majority of Namibian government officials appear to be slacking in executing them. Some of them date back as far as 2003 with little progress or none at all.

Tweya said that Cabinet took note of various agreements that have not made progress and directed that each ministry take charge of bilateral agreements that are directly linked to Brazzaville.

Namibia and Congo share a history of national agreements in sectors such as education, fisheries, trade, transport, environment, information, land and international relations.

In the education sector, Cabinet directed that the government consider the renewal of permits for nine students from Congo Brazzaville studying at the Polytechnic of Namibia which in turn should also request for French lecturers to come to briefly work in Namibia.

The information minister also said he does not know why the government has been sitting on bilateral agreements that were signed over a decade ago. He admitted that even though the information ministry has bilateral agreements with Brazzaville, he is in the dark about them.

“I don’t know, to be honest,” he said, adding that he will seek more information about them.

One of the successful projects between the two countries is the Loudima Institute for Technical and Vocational Training situated in the Republic of Congo. Former President Hifikepunye Pohamba and Congolese head of state Denis Sassou-Nguesso inaugurated the centre last year and it will be home to Namibian and Congolese students over the years.

OTHER CABINET MATTERS

Meanwhile, Tweya also announced that Cabinet gave the green light to the revised declaration of assets form for civil servants which will first go to the ministry of justice for scrutiny.

Tweya also announced that Cabinet approved the appointment of finance minister Calle Schlettwein as the chair of the board, of trustees to the Members of Parliament and Other Office Bearers Pension Fund. Schlettwein replaces Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila.

Industrialisation minister Immanuel Ngatjizeko was also appointed as a trustee to the board for three years. National planning minister Tom Alweendo was retained as a member of the board.