WINDHOEK, 20 SEP – Ahead of the second National Land Conference, several regional governors have weighed in on the claims for restitution of ancestral land, saying claimants of such rights should be heard while some say it could spark tribal tensions.
When approached by Nampa for his views on the matter, Omusati Governor Erginus Endjala noted that the land conference, slated for 01 to 05 October, presents an opportunity to hear those advocating for rights to ancestral land.
He said it could have noble intentions in Namibia’s quest to address the land question.
“Every citizen of this country has the right to propose what he thinks is correct. It depends now on how you are going to present ancestral land. Sometimes we become so sceptical about other people’s view without really having the details of what that person intends to do,” Endjala said, noting that the conference should be approached with clear minds.
Also speaking to this agency on the matter, Erongo Governor Cleophas Mutjavikua quashed insinuations that discussing ancestral land for restitution at the conference would be a blow to Namibia’s nation-building aspirations.
Mutjavikua said denying ancestral land claims is de facto denying that the 1904-1908 genocide, which Germany meted on the Nama and Oveherero communities, never took place.
“Ancestral land is a reality. Unless we are saying the negotiations on (genocide) reparations is not real. If the negotiation of reparation is real, then ancestral land is equally real,” Mutjavikua stressed.
He added that the Namibian Constitution makes provision for any Namibian to live in any part of the country they wish to.
Zambezi Governor, Lawrence Sampofu said ancestral land right claims ought to be respected.
Despite the acknowledgement, Sampofu noted that Government projects or private developments earmarked for areas identified as ancestral land should benefit all Namibians.
However, Oshikoto Governor, Henock Kankoshi said ancestral land claims were unconstitutional.
“The Constitution does not say you must live on the land of your forefathers or ancestors. Never. We have adopted and agreed on our Constitution and it should guide us. That ancestral land claim cannot work, unless we didn’t accept the Constitution,” Kankoshi said. – NAMPA