Government’s land reforms a hogwash, not serious with ancestral land rights

Staff Writer

The Ancestral Land Foundation of Namibia (Alfon) is appealing to clans with claims to ancestral land rights at Okandjoze, and others in general, not to allow the Government to continue to usurp their rights but to stand up and fight for their rights and claim back their ancestral land.

Alfon made this appeal at a media conference on Wednesday when it addressed various issues pertaining to land dispossession and its precursor, the 1904 to 1904 genocide of the Ovaherero and Nama. Alfon founder, Sir Welcome Kazondunge, notes that it is apparent that the Second National Land Conference of 2018, and subsequently the Commission of Inquiry into Claims of Ancestral Land Rights, which was submitted to President Hage Geingob last July, is only hogwash and the Government is not serious about ancestral land rights. This is despite the Commission establishing categorically that ancestral land rights do exist. But looks like Government has as yet to implement both the resolutions of the Second National Land Conference as well as the recommendations of the Commission, if such are forever not to gather dust in the offices of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform and that of the President respectively.

To add insult to injury both Kazondunge and another activist of Alfon, Jarii Tjatindi-Tjeja have little confidence that the resolutions of the Second National Land Conference shall ever be implemented while Calle Schlettwein, a German descendant himself, is at the helm of this ministry. Ala Kazondunge and Tjatindi-Tjeja, they have knocked several times at his door to see how they could envision the wat forward in terms of land reform, but to no avail.

For the Government to show any seriousness in terms of its commitment to ancestral land rights, Alfon thinks Okandjoze must be allotted to the “owners”, meaning the clans and communities claiming ancestral land rights thereof instead of offering it for open resettlement as it has done by inviting those who wish to be resettled thereon to apply. Another grave concern of Alfon is whether those with ancestral land rights claim to Okandjoze this time around ever applied for resettlement thereon.

Alfon in this regard is urgently appealing to communities and clans who may have ancestral land rights claims to Okandjoze, to urgently petition the Government so that it recognises their land rights claims or give them priority. However, the public had until 13 September to put their applications for resettlement and it is any wonder if it may not be late now, if only for those with ancestral land rights to petition any allotment which may already have been done and it is only a matter of the Government announcing the successful applicants.

Okandjoze is situated 60 kilometres northeast of Okahandja on the road to Ozire near the Omatako Dam in the Omatako Constituency of the Otjozonjupa region. Historically it was the main centre of the Ovaherero leadership in Omuramba under the leadership of Captain Zemuundja Kandirikirira (1853-1894) . Hence the traditional burial place of the eminent Otjirera clan. The last Kandirikirira/Otjirera elder protégé to laid to rest there being Gerson Kandirikirira last July.

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