WINDHOEK: The Swapo Party Elders’ Council (SPEC) has called on the government to address the issue of land reform as a matter of urgency.
The Swapo Elders’ call forms part of the resolutions taken during the fifth SPEC Congress held at Ongwediva in the Oshana Region from 26 to 29 July.
Newly elected SPEC Secretary Frederick Mwala Matongo said during a media briefing at the party’s headquarters in Katutura on Wednesday morning that the elders are in particular calling on Government to conduct a thorough land acquisition review on all laws of the country that have not been amended since Namibia obtained its political independence 22 years ago.
“These laws in question that need amendment include those that were enacted immediately post-Independence, such as the so-called of ‘willing buyer-willing seller’ policy and the laws related to the issue of absentee landlords who own huge tracts of land in Namibia,” explained Matongo.
The elders also made an earnest appeal to the Namibian Government that all formerly dispossessed persons still alive be allocated resettlement farms by the Swapo-led government, and be provided with agricultural implements and business start-up financial resources in order to empower them to achieve a high and acceptable level of productive farming.
“Government should as a matter of urgency enact laws and legislation aimed at barring all the country’s landlords from converting their farms into closed corporations,” said Matongo.
The Swapo elders further called on the government to seriously look into a number of by-laws presently being applied in the country by local authorities, town councils, municipalities and village councils with regard to the selling of land by auctioning it off to the highest bidder, which excludes the majority of poor Namibians.
“The by-laws applied by the local authorities with regard to the selling of land through auctioneering to the highest bidder should be done away with, in order to help avert the potential political and economic alienation of the youth, whose future livelihood on land is being threatened,” Matongo charged.
On the issue of the eviction of the country’s senior citizens by local authorities and municipalities from their homes, the Swapo-Party elders suggested that such practices be done away with.
They also demanded that all colonial laws still in existence in the country be totally abolished or amended with immediate effect, as these laws are said to be infringing on the human dignity of the Namibian people.
“The process of the alienation scheme for municipal houses should be sped up in order for the houses to be transferred and registered in the occupants’ names. The government’s decentralisation policy of transferring some powers to the country’s regions should be sped up in order to help stimulate the socio-economic development in the regions from which the senior citizens can also benefit,” stressed Matongo.
The Congress of the Swapo Party Elders’ Council also took a decision in support of President Hifikepunye Pohamba’s call for 50/50 representation of women and men in all the country’s decision-making bodies by 2015.
Matongo was unanimously elected as the new SPEC secretary after former secretary Kanana Hishoono decided not to seek re-election.
Hishoono, a veteran politician, has been the secretary of the Swapo Party Elders’ Council for the past 20 years.
Matongo, who is a Special Advisor in the Ministry of Veterans’ Affairs, is deputised by Nestor Mukwaita Shanyengana.
Shanyengana is the Special Advisor for Media in the Office of the Presidency.