FORMER NAMIBIAN PRESIDENT CALLS FOR EXPROPRIATION OF FORMS OWNED BY FOREIGN, ABSENTEE LANDLORDS

WINDHOEK-- Former Namibian president Hifikepunye Pohamba has called for the expropriation of commercial farms owned by foreigners and absentee landlords.

Speaking at the 2nd National Land Conference which began here Monday, Pohamba said the 250 farms owned by foreigners, representing two per cent of farms in the country, should be expropriated with fair compensation.

"I propose that agricultural (commercial) farm land owned by foreigners and absentee landlords be expropriated with just compensation on developmental capital invested therein and be transferred to the State," said the country's immediate past president.

Pohamba also proposed that "the entire Namibian land, water and natural resources below and above the surface of the land and in the continental shelf, as well as within the territorial waters and exclusive economic zone of Namibia" be placed under the ownership of the State.

"The State shall then enter into long- and short-term lease agreements with those currently occupying land in Namibia. The State shall, therefore, compensate for developmental capital invested on farm land, should the occupier decide to leave," he said.

Meanwhile, Namibia's Founding President Sam Nujoma said land must belong to the State should be administered by the government in accordance with the country's needs, while rejecting ancestral land claims, saying this should not be entertained.

He said Namibians fought for the total emancipation of their country and its territorial integrity and that every Namibian had the right to resettle anywhere in the country as provided for by the Constitution.

Nujoma further said there were concerns that the land reform programme to be discussed at the consultation would result in white farmers being stripped of land and this would be to the detriment of the economy. Such claims had to be rejected as "any change in this regard will not compromise the food security and economic growth in the country".

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK