The prejudices perpetrated by the history of colonialism that resulted in black people not having land in Namibia are still persisting, and the Landless People's Movement (LPM) has vowed to redress this by making the necessary amendments to the legislation. The inequalities still exist with full force and the movement wants to take some action.
The leader of the Landless People's Movement Bernadus Swartbooi said that they want to take a radical path and introduce a radical land reform program that will address the land imbalances that exist in the country as a result of the brutality of the apartheid regime. As it stands, it is not possible for government to take or expropriate land for the purposes of redistributing it to the landless. The aim, so that the country progresses in the benefit of everyone, is for the "people of the land to become able to feed themselves."
The LMP is extremely keen to this cause, and Swaartbooi made these remarks during the LPM's inaugural people's assembly in Windhoek. And they want to contest at the 27 November national elections with the hope of securing as much seats as they can for the National Assembly.
At the top of their priority list should they get a considerable amount of influence is focusing on vital issues such as urban land reform, agricultural land reform, housing provision and free tertiary education.
Swaartbooi said, "We are a party that wants to get the land for our people, no matter what the law says. We go and change the laws. We want to get the basics right and get our people into agricultural production so that we can feed ourselves as a nation and export any surpluses that we produce here."
"No longer is it normal that a country with regions such as the Zambezi, the Kavangos and Kunene, with vast water resources and fertile soil, must be hungry as we are. It is unacceptable, it can't be and the resources are there to transform our society."
He also said that the LPM government will ensure that land is allocated to people living in informal settlements free of charge so that they can have access to assets to plan and transform their lives.
"These are the proven basic needs of mankind. The ability and access to resources to produce your own food; the ability to own a decent place to sleep, raise your family and plan your life; access to assets that you can call your own so that you can leave it for your children. "
"We are, as LPM, forced to even go for further expropriation of land so that we can place the families in the condition and possibilities to go and feed themselves," he said.
He further added, "What is interesting is that while so many agree on the fundamental problems in this country and so many agree on who to point the finger at regarding the failure of the economy and poor service delivery, these are the same people that are still afraid to stand up and point out without fear that the path that society has been put through for the past 29 years is unsustainable."
"Are we the leaders? We must internalise what we stand for and we must become the difference in our hearts and minds that we seek to sell to Namibians. As LPM and as leaders, as you come here, in your heart is the cry for equality; in your heart is the cry for jobs for the young people; your soul bears the hallmarks of a life of decent living for our people."
Land remains one of the most divisive issues in Namibia ever since it attained its independence. And there are plenty of promises that have not been fulfilled on this sensitive matter. With the existing and prevailing realities, that are disadvantageous to the black people, the pressure to resolve the contentious land issue will keep on mounting. Entrenching colonial privileges that are working for the benefit of the elite few is certainly not the way to go, whatever argument one may put forth.
Header image credit - DW