WINDHOEK – President HAGE GEINGOB of NAMIBIA has had to intervene in a case involving TWO municipal officials in the capital, WINDHOEK.
NBC News says he has ordered the Municipality to reinstate City Police Chief ABRAHAM KANIME and drop all charges against Chief Executive Officer ROBERT KAHIMISE.
It says the Head of State has taken the action after what it describes as continuous wrangling among councillors in the City Council over the TWO officials for the past THREE years.
City Police Chief KANIME has been on non-stop suspension while earning his salary; and Chief Executive Officer KAHIMISE was suspended, resumed work and was then reinstated in his post.
President GEINGOB says even though he is not familiar with the law, he has decided to issue the order to end the impasse.
He says while the councillors have been fighting without an end there has been a murder in the centre of WINDHOEK.
President GEINGOB was referring to the shooting that resulted in the death of a senior worker at the GLOBAL FUND Office while another employee was admitted at Lady POHAMBA Hospital Intensive Care Unit with bullet wounds.
Police have since arrested a GLOBAL FUND employee and charged him with murder as well as attempted murder following the incident TWO days ago.
SIMAATA SIMASIKU has appeared in the WINDHOEK Magistrate’s Court facing charges of murdering SARAH MWILIMA and attempted to murder ESTER NEPOLO.
NBC News says he has told Magistrate VANESSA STANLEY he may apply for a State-funded lawyer if he fails to get a private lawyer, after she warned him of his legal rights.
Magistrate STANLEY has remanded the case to the FIRST of MARCH to allow for further investigations and for the accused to secure a lawyer.
The State alleges Mr SIMASIKU shot colleagues MWILIMA and NEPOLO in broad daylight at the GLOBAL FUND Office in WINDHOEK City Centre.
Ms MWILIMA died instantly but Ms NEPOLO survived and was rushed to Lady POHAMBA Hospital for treatment after the shooting.
Prosecutors say they suspect a disagreement over the renewal of the arrested man’s contract, which ends at the end of MARCH, may have prompted the shooting.
The NAMIBIAN Head of State has expressed annoyance over the squabbles in the Council chambers of the capital city when the municipality needed full attention in the face of such murders./Sabanews/cam
HARARE – The authorities in NAMIBIA seem to be nursing a potentially volatile situation by delaying the long awaited equitable distribution of land to suffering citizens.
Like all the surrounding sister nations in the SADC Region, the former GERMAN colony lost millions of its people during colonisation and throughout the liberation war – all in the name of self-determination.
This process, by which a country clarifies its own statehood and forms its own government, cannot end until the people access the primary means of production – which in this case is land.
Thus, the major grievance that forced thousands of young men and women to leave their homes to join the liberation struggle was land; but 29 years after independence, the issue remains unresolved.
Thousands of NAMIBIANS have been without proper homes for generations and have been patient all along, but some are becoming more and more agitated under the situation.
More than 100 residents of OTJIWARONGO, a city of 28-THOUSAND inhabitants in the OTJOZONDJUPA Region, have recently invaded idle land at the new OMBILI informal settlement of the municipality.
NBC News says the people descended on the area with rakes, shovels, axes and hoes; started clearing and demarcating the land, before the police and municipal authorities and politicians stopped them.
The officials included OTJIWARONGO Mayor BENNES HAIMBONDI, Management Committee Chairperson HILDA JESAJA, and ruling SWAPO Party OTJOZONDJUPA Regional Co-ordinator SUSAN HIKOPUA.
The broadcaster says the residents have told the news agency, NAMPA, they have taken matters into their own hands because the town council rejects their applications for land, charges them exorbitant prices, and councillors give no priority to land delivery.
NBC News says Mayor HAIMBONDI has asked the group to write down their names and allow the municipality to verify them in its database, to see if they had not yet been given land already, as well as whether or not they are listed as new applicants for land.
It says he called for patience, emphasising the town council will service about FOUR-THOUSAND plots in the invaded area; although the total number of the needy is not clear yet.
The aggrieved residents have agreed to write down their names, but they have also called on the municipality to speed up the exercise of servicing land at the OMBILI informal settlement.
Records show land reform, which has been a vital political and economic topic in NAMIBIA, comprises TWO different strategies: resettlement, and transfer of commercially viable agricultural land.
They say resettlement aims to improve the lives of displaced or dispossessed previously disadvantaged NAMIBIANS.
The farms the government obtains for resettlement are usually in a number of sections, with scores of families resettling on what had previously been ONE farm.
Commercial farms transfer is not directly under State control, since aspiring farmers with a previously disadvantaged background obtain the properties privately or through affirmative action loans – both under the notorious Willing-Buyer, Willing Seller principle.
NAMIBIA has about FOUR-THOUSAND commercial farms, with about ONE-THOUSAND of them now in the hands of previously disadvantaged nationals since independence in 1990./Sabanews/cam
SWAKOPMUND – The SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY Committee of Ministers of Justice and Attorneys-General is this year meeting in NAMIBIA.
The gathering in the NAMIBIAN coastal city of SWAKOPMUND comes amid increasing demand for justice in different social areas within member states and across borders.
NBC News says the delegates aim to implement the regional action plan designed to deal with a host of burning legal matters in the 16-member economic bloc.
It says issues to receive attention at the meeting are money laundering and terrorism funding; child abduction; human trafficking; gender-based violence; other organised crime, as well as regional, mutual legal cooperation.
The Acting Senior Legal Counsel of the Committee, NTHABISENG LIPHAPANG of LESOTHO, says the delegates will come up with recommendations on how to implement such pressing matters.
The official says their proposals will in turn help the SADC Secretariat and member states with a clear direction on the way forward.
Secretariat Legal Matters Chairperson BERDINE FOURIE of SOUTH AFRICA has handed over the chair to in the NAMIBIAN Ministry of Justice Permanent Secretary ISSASKAR NDJOZE during the meeting.
Meanwhile, NAMIBIA has been hosting the Committee of Ministers of Justice and Attorneys-General meeting at a time it is facing serious legal problems regarding the distribution of land in the country.
Most of the cases are linked to the events dating as far back as 1884, when GERMANY colonised the territory; during which the black population lost its homes and became farm labourers for the invaders or simply wondered from ONE place to another.
This week the WINDHOEK High Court has started hearing a case by EIGHT members of the HAI||OM SAN community, the largest and most widely dispersed SAN population in NAMIBIA.
NBC News says the complainants are seeking permission from the judges to apply for a Class Action Lawsuit on behalf of their ethnic community against the Government.
It says they are reclaiming ownership of the land covering the ETOSHA National Park and the MANGETTI WEST area north of TSUMEB Town in OSHIKOTO Region.
The national broadcaster says the majority of the people now live as farm workers, and they are demanding compensation or land measuring the size as the MANGETTI WEST and ETOSHA National Park.
It says the HAI||OM claim their ancestors are the original inhabitants of land of both the ETOSHA NATIONAL Park and MANGETTI WEST, before colonial governments forcefully evicted them without any alternative land to settle on.
There are about SIX-THOUSAND-500 HAI||OM SAN community members scattered across the country, and some TWO-THOUSAND-476 of them have agreed to support the plea to be represented by the EIGHT persons to restore their ancestral land rights.
Researchers say like many other SAN peoples in Southern AFRICA, the HAI||OM were dispossessed, marginalised, and discriminated against by other groups and by the colonial state.
They say the SOUTH WEST AFRICA Administration in 1949, appointed a Commission for the Preservation of the BUSHMEN under a former STELLENBOSCH University Professor, PIETER JOHANNES SCHOEMAN.
Professor SCHOEMAN is reportedly ONE of the architects of apartheid in SOUTH AFRICA, and the final report of his Commission that came out in 1953 ignored the HAI||OM, because he did not see them as authentic BUSHMEN.
Legal commentators say it is high time regional gatherings like the Committee of Ministers of Justice and Attorneys-General meeting in NAMIBIA come up with practical ways to correct such gross legal imbalances in the SADC countries./Sabanews/cam
WINDHOEK – An instructor with the NAMIBIA Airforce School of Airpower Studies has successfully developed and introduced a locally manufactured computer into the market.
NBC News says the National Assembly has welcomed this FIRST ever locally assembled machine built on what is known as the Psychology Experiment Building Language, PEBL.
Designers say PEBL is a free psychology software for creating experiments that allows you to design your own experiments or use ready-made ones, and lets you exchange experiments freely without license or charge.
NBC News says VINCENT VAN WYK, a Chief Instructor at the NAMIBIAN Air Force School of Air-power Studies, started the PEBL project in 2015 and released it onto the local market ONE year later.
It says ruling SWAPO Parliamentarian PENDUKENI IIVULA-ITHANA has presented the computer in the National Assembly, describing it as a high tech central processing unit developed for all IT-related needs.
The national broadcaster also says the low-cost high tech computer will help ensure all NAMIBIAN children have access to ICT facilities, even in rural communities.
It says Information and Communication Technology Minister STANLEY SIMAATA has called on government departments to use the locally manufactured computer in their executive services.
He says the Public Procurement Act demands special treatment of domestic products, but some State institutions still import tools that are available locally.
Prime Minister SAARA KUUGONGELWA-AMADHILA has also added her voice to the call for use of locally made products.
She says the government has a policy that specifically directs the support to such goods, while developing their capacity to market them regionally and internationally.
The authorities in NAMIBIA have now developed a national plan to open a processing plant next year to enable local production of the PEBL based computer./Sabanews/cam
WINDHOEK – The government of NAMIBIA has finally released the full list of people who have benefitted from the national land reforms since independence in MARCH 1990.
The Ministry of Land Reform document says out of a population of TWO-POINT-ONE-MILLION, only FIVE-THOUSAND-731 people benefited from the National Resettlement Program schemes carried out on 494 farms.
NBC News quotes Ombudsman JOHN WALTERS as saying his Office has received the list, as Minister UTONI NUJOMA promised at the recent SECOND National Land Conference, to which leading groups like the NAMIBIAN AGRICULTURAL UNION also contributed.
The broadcaster says Ombudsman WALTERS is scheduled to go through the record before making it available on the official website.
It says the latest development follows continuous calls before, during, and after the SECOND National Land Conference for the government to reveal names of people who have benefitted from the land reforms so far.
Ombudsman WALTERS has described the Conference as a success, saying despite most of the views from delegates being of a general nature, discussions were inclusive and created a window for everyone to speak.
Like other nations such as TANZANIA, ZAMBIA, ANGOLA, MOZAMBIQUE, and ZIMBABWE, NAMIBIA was under colonial rule for more than a century – during which thousands of its people were killed as they fought for freedom.
Yet, some 134 years after the seizure of residential and farmlands from black communities by foreign settlers, and 28 years after independence, the SADC country still has to solve the major grievance of the liberation struggle – the land.
With the conclusion of the SECOND National Land Conference and the release of the full list of the resettlement program beneficiaries, questions rise about how effective will be the new approaches (if any) to the matter.
Nevertheless, observers can benefit from TWO academics who may have managed to capture the major problems facing the authorities and the rest of the nation.
KAZEMBIRE ZEMBURUKA, a communications practitioner and lecturer in broadcast media, as well as YARUKEEKURO NDOROKAZE, a lawyer with the High Court and broadcaster, shared their views in the media TWO months ago.
Their article in THE PATRIOT newspaper says the so-called FIRST Land Conference of JUNE to JULY 1991 took place about 16 months into independence, with national reconciliation seemingly being the buzzword.
It says while the Conference accepted there was injustice regarding land acquisition and resolved practical moves be made, no specific action was agreed on – which means it is still work in progress.
Additionally, ancestral land claims are complicated issues due to overlapping boundaries of the different communities, which make restitution impossible: and the FIRST Conference failed to find a lasting solution.
Foreign ownership is a different matter because the Conference agreed foreigners should only get access to use and develop the land for investment purposes: but foreigners own large tracts of farmland, which means the resolution was not complied with.
As for abandoned and underutilised commercial land, the Conference resolved to reallocate and productively use it: but the government has failed to do so or to help communities trying to take action.
The academics say virgin land in the OTJOZONDJUPA, OMAHEKE, and KAVANGO WEST regions, as well as other pockets elsewhere, have always been seen as the answer to overgrazing in communal areas, but there seems to be little appetite to develop the areas.
They say the authorities are even ignoring the drilling of boreholes and finding a permanent solution to the gifblaar, a perennial shrub that is deadly poisonous to stock, or at least provide practical ways to co-habitat with the plant.
Absentee landlords also remain untouched despite the Conference resolution to expropriate their land, after the expropriation attempts stopped following a High Court ruling in the matter between GUNTER KESSL and the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement.
Nonetheless, the High Court provided guidelines on lawful expropriation and no subsequent attempts were made: and, given the nationalities involved and the political sway of their countries on domestic policy, the intervention may never see the light of day.
KAZEMBIRE ZEMBURUKA and YARUKEEKURO NDOROKAZE say the Conference agreed on banning occupation of large pieces of land and multiple ownership of farms.
They say no limit was set on the size of a farm per person, yet it would have been easier to limit the number of properties per person if there had been maximum farm sizes, and as long as such a position had the support of the necessary legal framework.
The 1991 Land Conference introduced land tax for commercial farmland and there might have been implementation challenges on the right level of taxation and the grace period, but the government deserves maximum points on the resolution.
The TWO academics also touch on other issues like Technical Committee on Commercial Farmland, Land Tenure, Farm Workers, Assistance to Commercial Farmers, and the Future Role of the Communal Areas.
Given the token successes of plans under the resolutions from the FRIST Land Conference, there are calls for the authorities in NAMIBIA to take seriously the declarations from the SECOND National Land Conference to avoid continued civil unrest./Sabanews/cam
WINDHOEK – Beneficiaries of the SOUTH AFRICAN apartheid system in NAMIBIA are still holding on to vast tracts of land at the expense of the majority population.
Records show about FOUR-THOUSAND, mostly white, commercial farmers own as much as 70 percent of all the arable land in the country – as a result of colonial settlement policies.
The State, commercial farmers, and black farming groups have been trying to implement a peaceful and orderly land reform through government buyouts also with financial support from GERMAN, the former colonial power.
However, the government has only manage to acquire just SEVEN farms in the last 28 years since independence, amid growing desperation for settlements and resettlement by majority poor.
The Land Reform Ministry says the authorities bought all the SEVEN properties, measuring 27-THOUSAND hectares, at a cost of 16-POINT-SIX-MILLION NAMIBIA dollars (ONE-MILLION-134-THOUSAND-510 US dollars) in 2005.
Permanent Secretary PETER AMUTENYA says the Land Reform Ministry has never acquired any more land ever since then.
He says the State had initially identified 26 farms for takeover up until 2005, but only managed to get the SEVEN properties situated in the OMAHEKE, KHOMAS, and OTJOZONDJUPA regions.
Mr AMUTENYA says the absence of land expropriation criteria, inflation of prices by commercial farmers, and legal gaps in the 1995 Agricultural Land Reform Act have been stalling the national resettlement process.
However, the government successfully tables a new law last year and the Lands Ministry is explaining the revised expropriation policy at the ongoing National Land Conference.
The gathering comes amid serious imbalances in the ownership and occupation of land in NAMIBIA, where blacks with access to bank loans occupy 16 percent of it while the State owns a mere FOUR percent on which it has been trying to squeeze the majority.
The NAMIBIA Statistics Agency has carried out an audit that reveals 250 farms are in the hands of foreigners.
Meanwhile, delegates to the SECOND National Land Conference underway in the capital, WINDHOEK, have also identified access to land as a fundamental challenge to housing in urban areas.
They say it is expensive to acquire land, service the property, and develop the necessary infrastructure – since private companies driven by profit carry out the servicing.
The delegates have called on the authorities to reverse the situation in the best interest of the masses, especially by revising the model of Public Private Partnership.
A member of the SHACK DWELLERS’ FEDERATION says the Conference should adopt a policy aimed to increase community-based land delivery processes for low and ultra-low income earners.
EDITH MBANGA says the worsening state of access to shelter and security of tenure will result in severe overcrowding, homelessness, as well as environmental health problems.
She blames such conditions on the lack of critical infrastructure, the affordability gaps, and the inefficient control of development.
The NAMIBIAN woman says the situation is forcing the urban poor and a large segment of low and moderate-income groups to rely on informal shelter, causing increased unplanned settlements in cities./Sabanews/cam