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Land Conference delay sets off consultations

The Namibian Non-Governmental Organisation Forum (NANGOF-Trust) Land Reform Working Group consultations held this week in Windhoek and demanded that the Lands Reform Ministry make funds available for a land conference next year.

Following community land consultation held in the Hardap, //Kharas and Omaheke Regions after plans for a national conference where canceled. It was agreed that communities from those and other selected regions of the country be asked for participation on the land issue. The consultations follow an announcement by the Minister of Land Reform, Uutoni Nujoma that the 2nd National Land Conference will be held on a date still to be determined.

NANGOF said in a press release that government is rewriting the realities of the past in order to suit the policy of national reconciliation and nation building by resettling all Namibians, regardless of whether they lost land or not. “Government is resettling people who were never unsettled at the expense of those of us who lost land through centuries of war and genocide. We do not know how government understands the word resettlement,”.the statement read.

NANGOF is demanding for better independent researchers and institutions be commissioned to review various aspects of land reform policy. “The Ministry of Land Reform must learn from the best practice of Ministry of Health and Social Services with the way in which the recently concluded National AIDS Conference was organized,” they added.

According to the statement, during the consultations, presentations were tabled on the finding, views and opinions of the communities that were consulted and presented to the effect that Land reform in Namibia cannot be understood without reference to the policy of national reconciliation.

NANGOF organized the consultations with financial support from the Friedrech Ebert Foundation (FES) and in cooperation with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia (ELCRN), which is hosting the Secretariat of the NANGOF Working Group on Land Reform. The consultations will culminate in the Landless People’s Conference on Land Reform, as a precursor to the envisaged 2nd National Land Conference to be hosted by the Ministry of Land Reform.

The Land Reform Working Group held meetings for the Hardap Region in Hoachanas, Gochas, Gibeon, Maltahohe, Stampriet, Mariental, Kries, Aranos and Tsumis Park. //Kharas Region meetings were held in Berseba, Tses, Warmbad, Aroab, /Khoes and Bethanie while the Omaheke Region meetings were held in Gobabis, Epukiro Pos, Epukiro RC, Vasdraai Farm, Leonardville, Otjinene and Duplessis Farm.

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