Politicians Bemoan Lands Budget

Windhoek — Land reform has become a contentious issue of late, which if not addressed radically could backfire.

As a result some politicians cannot comprehend why the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement only got N$590 million for the 2014/2015 financial year.

Politicians who spoke to New Era yesterday said they expected the lands ministry to get more money during this financial year to ensure that land reform is effective.

Congress of Democrats (CoD) president, Ben Ulenga, accused government of not prioritizing land reform and indicated that countries that were involved in land expropriation in the past should be consulted to help government acquire land.

“We do not agree with the land policy of government because it has not been doing anything to acquire land. Parliament decided over 10 years ago that more money must be set aside for land purchasing,” said Ulenga.

Ulenga hinted that Namibians would soon be fed up and start looting.

“The country is burning as far as land is concerned, perhaps the government is waiting for people to start burning buildings,” he said.

“People are crying for plots in Windhoek for instance but they cannot afford it while the rich people are sitting with plenty of land,” he said.

“This thing of some crucial sectors receiving small amounts while others receive billions is ridiculous, the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement should be one of the ministries topping the list,” he said.

All People’s Party (APP) president, Ignatius Shixwameni, was equally shocked by the allocation to the lands ministry describing it as “peanuts”.

“People are crying for land yet we are throwing peanuts at that ministry. It is high time we start taking land reform seriously because it is a ticking time bomb seeing that our people want land,” he said.

“We are talking of buying Erindi for N$1,3 billion, if we buy it then what will the ministry be left with or will government make alternative provisions for that transaction?” questioned Shixwameni.

Shixwameni called for the allocation of the lands ministry to be increased and urged government to prioritize land reform.

Of the allocated funds a huge chunk or N$426 million will be used for developmental purposes.

About N$19 million will be used to build ministerial regional offices in Omuthiya (N$2,5 million) and Katima Mulilo (N$6,8 million), upgrade projects at Outapi and Eenhana at a cost of N$2,5 million each and N$4,5 million will be spent on integrated regional land use planning

Government currently uses the willing seller/willing buyer policy to acquire land but the policy has not yielded success with both President Hifikepunye Pohamba and Prime Minister Dr Hage Geingob coming out publicly on several occasions admitting government must find new ways to acquire land.