Monday 14 June 2021
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‘Struggle was not all about land’-Geingob

WINDHOEK, 29 August 2016 - President Hage Geingob (L) talks to members of the media at Eros Airport ahead of his departure for Mbabane, Swaziland for the 36th Ordinary Summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Heads of State and Government. (Photo by: Joseph Nekaya) NAMPA

President Hage Geingob says the struggle for Namibia’s Independence was not only about land, as claimed by some land activists.

He also rubbished claims that government is against black acquisition of land, saying there is no way an elected government would neglect those that brought it into power.
Addressing the Swapo Khomas regional leadership earlier this week, Geingob challenged those in attendance to tell him why people think a “democratically elected” government would be against its people.
“I would like people to tell us why they think a democratically elected government is against black people getting the land back, can somebody tell me why they would think that?”
“What proof is there to show that the government of Swapo is against Namibians getting land back?” asked Geingob.
In the same breathe, Geingob discredited claims by some land activists and politician who say land was at the centre of Namibia’s liberation struggle. “We fought to free the country. To those who are saying the war (liberation struggle) was for the land, go and check. We never said (it was about) land; we said to free the country – to get our independence which, of course, means land too,” charged Geingob.
Moreover, Geingob alleged that certain sections of the society have distorted the terminologies around land question and are now using it as a tool to “instigate” others.
“When you are distorting this (land issue) to instigate people, to create trouble I keep on saying, first peace is boring, it’s good to toy-toy.
“But those who are in Swapo, the veterans, know how difficult it is to build, even if you are building a house, it is difficult, but it easy to destroy,” said Geingob.
Citing countries such as Iraq, Libya and Angola, the President discouraged those who claim that “peace is boring” saying war has destroyed many countries that are still struggling to rebuild.
He said that those who are trying to destabilize peace in Namibia “don’t care” and were driven by what he referred to as the “Savimbi-syndrome”.
“The Savimbi-syndrome is, if I am not in (not part of the leadership), I don’t care I am going to destroy,” Geingob explained.
According to Geingob, there are people (within Swapo) who say as long as they are excluded or defeated “I will cause trouble” but if they are part of the leadership then say “everything” is alright.
Geingob’s comments come at a time when three groups campaigning for land against the country’s administration have emerged from within the ruling Swapo Party citing lack of urgency to address the land question.
The three movements that are spearheaded by Swapo card-carrying members are Affirmative Repositioning (AR), Muzokumwe Volunteer Organization and Landless People’s Movement (LMP). LMP is headed by former land reform deputy Minister Clinton Swartbooi, Muzokumwe is headed by Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) labour secretary Paulus Mbanga while AR is spearheaded by Job Amupanda, George Kambala and Dimbulukweni Nauyoma.
On ancestral land
Seemingly challenging claims on ancestral land, Geingob started off by asking: “Windhoek, whom do you give it to, do you pull down (destroy) these buildings and give ancestral land?
“Somebody shout to me, whom do we give Windhoek to? Come on, shout. Whom do we give it to?” he queried.
Geingob said “if we say this country belongs to all Namibians” they would not lose anything but “peace”.
At the same juncture, Geingob who also chaired the country’s first land conference in 1991 acknowledged that land was a burning issue but downplayed suggestions that the issue of ancestral land was never brought to the table.
The date for the second land conference, which will be chaired by Geingob, is still a mystery but critics are already asking what Government will do differently at the next land conference.
Seemingly responding to his critics, Geingob said the issue of ancestral land was discussed for five days before reaching a “compromise”, contrary to rife allegations in the public domain that it was never discussed.
“Don’t say we didn’t discuss the ancestral land, it’s not true, it took us days to decide the question of ancestral land,” Geingob noted.
According to the President, it was even discussed back then that those who claim ownership to ancestral land do not mention the “San people”, who are believed to be among the first inhabitants of Namibia.
“Those of us who are talking about ancestral land, we don’t even refer to San, it’s a very difficult issue,” he said.
Geingob added that the second land conference that is slated for September this year will be the right platform to “interrogate” the issue of ancestral land and for those in the know to come and tell the nation where such land is.
Geingob added that the country does not have to go to war because of the land issue hence it was governed democratically and therefore its citizens must engage one another despite their differences.
“We can dialogue, we can talk and convince one another where one is wrong and address the issue of land, but don’t think land can make you rich automatically,” he further noted.
When referring to himself, Geingob said there are some Namibians who legitimately acquired farms but to this day have not made even “a single cent” from their land.
“Some of us bought land, we didn’t grab it. We should have (grabbed it) maybe, but people are condemning us for owning it, for buying it.”
“But it (land) is not a panacea to make you rich, some of us own land but didn’t make a single cent from that land,” the President claimed.

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