So-called new resettlement criteria a continuous dispossession of land

For now the Omaheke Region has distanced itself from taking part in the ongoing consultations by the government regarding what has been termed new resettlement criteria.

The said criteria must partly if not wholly have emanated from the Second National Land Conference of 2018. If they derive or supposed to have been based on the Second National Land Conference, then it must be made clear that this conference was only facilitated by the government. Thus by any definition it cannot be said to have been a government initiative or the government by any means cannot appropriate it. Because by demand in happened because of the people. The land dispossessed and land hungry.

Although by its eventual outcome as reflected in the said new resettlement criteria it is becoming self-evident what it was intended to achieve. Not to genuine address the question of historic land dispossession.

Because it was clear from its mooting and inception, before and during its duration, that influential elements within various spheres of the Namibian society, businesses, political, cultural, and even outright parochially ethnical and/or tribal elements, had a keen and intense interests in the land conference.

It is the undue influence of these elements, some working profusely 24/7 behind the scenes within the various structures, societal, traditional, communal, political, religious, business, and even within the bureaucratic civil service, whether on the local, constituency, regional and national level. Representing a specific hegemonic economic interest, driven predominantly by an economic oligarchy, which in its genesis represents a specific ethnic grouping. However heterogeneous such group may appear but which in its quest to maintain political and economic hegemony, is homogenous in terms of its common interest.

Such has come to bear its unmistakable influence on the so-called new resettlement criteria, like on many other spheres of economic and political endeavours. So that in every economic and political policy sphere, its ethnic sojourns stand to benefit exclusively like they have been.

In this regard the land reform and land redistribution environment is not and cannot be an exception.

It is must be said and known that starting with the First National Land Conference of 1990, shortly after independence, until the Second One in 2018, 28 years after independence, both conferences have intrinsically and integrally never been a government voluntary initiative.

The government was and has only been compelled to host the two conferences as a matter of political expediency. With the very first one to stave off what capitalists land barons feared may be revolutionary land invasions and grabbing shortly after independence given the cardinality and centrality of the land question historically. Which was core first during the resistance movement against German imperialism and colonialism, and subsequently during the struggle for freedom and independence.

As it would be incumbent and befitting of the new government of the day at independence, the land question was never discussed at the First National Land Conference on the manipulation and maneuvering of the new government, particularly the first Prime Minister then. But to the chagrin of the land hungry and land dispossessed.

But central and cardinal to the quest for freedom and independence as it was and has been, there was no keeping away by the government the land question from the policy agenda forever.

The best it has been able to do pretending to accommodate it. As it has done with the various policy frameworks, including policy instruments like the National Resettlement Policy. All of which fundamentally has been as hollow and meaningless as they have been in terms of doing justice to those who have been dispossessed of land, leading to their genocide.

Thus in terms of the economic interest of most of the black majority, and/or Africans, there was no way the government could forever evade the land question. Hence the Second National Land Conference of 2018. Which again the government had to politically expediently host. To essentially continue to politically manage the land reform and land redistribution process. Thus essentially the much vaunted new resettlement criteria no less and no more reflect the undue and deliberate and conscious mechanisationhs of the dominant and organised economic lobby of the oligarchy. Going back to the First National Land Conference in 1990 and the Second National Land Conference of 2018. With the resolutions of the Second National Land Conference, as it would be, given the keen interests which many an economic groupings took in the conference, embodied and reflected in most of the resolutions.

The dirty work of ensuring that land reform remains but a lie and a deception has been entrusted to a cohort of so-called land experts. Most of them with an interest in the continued skewedness of land distribution as they themselves are heirs of those who dispossessed the indigenes of their land. Hence it is in their best interest for the status quo of the land dispossession to continue.

In fact most of the resolutions proffered as being from the 2018 Second National Land Conference, cannot be said to essentially be in the letter and spirit of most of the attendees of the said conference, the majority of them the land dispossessed. On the contrary no single resolution, as reflected in most of the so-called resettlement criteria, speaks to needs of the land dispossessed.

This is while in essence the 2018 Second National Land Conference was on the insistence and demand of the landless and land hunger as a result of land dispossession.

A dispossession integrally and intrinsically linked to German occupation and resultant genocide of the Ovaherero and Nama, among others.

Thus the said new resettlement criteria are nothing but a continuation of the economic interests of the socio-economic elite, the petite bourgeoisie, including the ruling political elite, aided by heirs of the stolen land. In which the interests of the land dispossessed, among them the descendants of the survivors of Ovaherero and Nama genocide, have been at best been only at a distant periphery and marginally, where and when if ever it has been featuring anywhere at all and shall ever be considered.

The bold move by the region of Omaheke has long been coming. Because even the resettlement policy of the Namibian government, which has been in existence for as long as the country has known freedom and independence, has little to show for in terms of land redistribution for the land dispossessed.

Land hunger and landlessness in Namibia cannot be in any other context than that of colonial dispossession dating back to the occupation of Namibia by Imperial Germany. When, till this day, the indigenes were banished to modern day Namibian rural areas. Which continue to be seen and formalsed as “homes”, while land has been since acquired but the land dispossessed have never been considered and are still not being considered as priority for land redistribution and/or re-allocation. What used to be Bantustans are and have been formalised in an independent Namibia as rural areas.

Not only this but overcrowded as they are and have been, they have also been targeted for wholesaling to the oligarchy. A continuous land grabbing presided over traditional authorities and communal land boards.

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