The Affirmative Repositioning movement believes that the Government is practising double standards when it comes to the Land Bill, rent control boards and the mass urban land servicing programme.
AR this week spoke for the first time on the Land Bill, saying it is against the proposed tabling of the Land Bill in Parliament by Land Reform Minister Utoni Nujoma ahead of the second national Land Conference that is scheduled to take place later this year.
This comes days after it withdrew from the mass urban land servicing programme (MULSP). AR has now threatened to take Government to court if it fails to operationalise the rent control boards.
According to the movement, tabling the Bill now would be a “double-standard” and a waste of time as it would eventually change after the land conference, which will take place in September as announced by President Hage Geingob in his New Year’s message.
Speaking to The Patriot on Monday, AR co-leader leader, Dimbulukeni Nauyoma, said the movement does not “support” Nujoma’s decision to go ahead and table the Land Bill despite various calls by opposition leaders to put it on hold until after the land conference is held.
Nauyoma said tabling the Land Bill now would undermine the long-awaited land conference.
“The minister (Nujoma) saying there is no way that they are going to withdraw it is double-standard because you (Nujoma) are trying in some way to limit the long-awaited land conference,” said Nauyoma
Nauyoma further added that the current difficulties that Namibians are subjected to because of land can be addressed better at the land conference and not the other way around.
“So we (AR) cannot support something that is sub-standard, there is a need in the whole country for a second land conference to address the current challenges that we are facing.”
Moreover, the movement added that the land conference would avail a wider platform to address the “acquisition” of land in the country.
“There is a need to address the acquisition of land, ancestral land and urban land and the issue of confining the Northerners (communal farmers) to 20 hectares of land.
“So, the issue is that the Land Bill should be on hold until the second land conference takes place in order for it to inform the policy makers on how the Act should be,” added Nauyoma.
According to AR, the Land Bill would be refined after the land conference, therefore, it was pointless to host the latter ahead of the former.
“(After the land conference), the Land Bill is now going to be refined in such a way that it addresses the current land needs and that of generations to come,” added Nauyoma.
As a result, AR cannot support a Land Bill that is going to be “changed” after the outcome of the land conference, according to Nauyoma.
“In a nutshell, we are saying, the Land Bill must be put on hold until the land conference has taken place, so only then (after the land conference) can we inform the Land Bill,” concluded Nauyoma.
Moreover, AR recently withdrew from MULSP citing lack of urgency to meet targets set out in the programme and “deliberate” attempts by the Namibian government to see the programme fail.
In a telephonic interview with The Patriot this week, Minister of Urban and Rural Development Sophia Shaningwa distanced herself from AR’s withdrawal from MULSP saying that she had nothing to do with AR affairs and thus could not speak for the actions taken by the movement.
“It (AR) is not my initiative, so I don’t have anything to say,” were the remarks of Shaningwa when she was asked what the movement’s withdrawal from MULSP meant to the government’s quest to address urban land predicaments in Namibian towns.
When The Patriot further asked the minister on the “deliberate” attempts by the government to see MULSP fail as alleged by AR, Shaningwa too had “nothing” say.
AR leader and Youth Activist Job Amupanda recently made remarks that there was lack of urgency and accountability by government in the implementation of MUSLP.
Amupanda further said that inaction by government on those who failed to deliver was an indication that it cared little about the success of MUSLP.
In a media statement, AR aired its dismay saying that despite its efforts and commitment through dedicating time, energy and resources to a number of MULSP meetings, no tangible results have come out of the hard work.
“Our engineers, town planners, quantity surveyors, cartographers, environment specialists and several professionals from various backgrounds sat in those meetings making their skills available to their country at no cost.
“Even the MULSP targets that are contained in the Harambee document, such as the MULSP Implementation Plan and Pre-Allocation, are missed and no single explanation is offered,” reads the statement.
Additionally, AR has alleged that the MULSP was simply government’s attempt to “contain” the group. According to AR, land occupation remains very much an option for as long as government continues to handle the land issue with kid gloves.
“It is now clear that these MULSP meetings are nothing but an attempt to contain AR in slacking government bureaucracy, given these developments, we will be issuing government with a notice of withdrawal from the MULSP,” the statement further reads.