WINDHOEK, 12 JUN – The National Democratic Unity Organisation (Nudo) has said it is disheartened by Land Reform Minister Utoni Nujoma’s remarks in a recent interview with South African broadcaster eNCA.
In an interview aired last week, Nujoma said: “You cannot bring in a person from an informal settlement, put him there and hope that he will succeed to farm. We would like to resettle people who will really make a significant contribution to the GDP.”
Nudo said his statement is proof that the government is “against poor Namibians”.
In a statement issued on Sunday, outgoing party president Asser Mbai condemned Nujoma for his remarks.
“Utoni Nujoma officially announced that the Swapo government’s land reform policy is that Government will not buy an expensive farm and allocate it to a poor citizen,” said Mbai.
ENCA journalist, Nkepile Mabuse had asked Nujoma why the government’s land resettlement had mainly benefited rich Namibians, including ministers, as opposed to the poor masses of its population.
“These utterances are tantamount to undermining and excluding poor people from their right to benefit from the government resettlement programme as outlined in the land policy as influenced by the first land conference in 1991,” Mbai said.
He then criticised the government’s land reform policy, saying it has failed to capacitate Namibians with the requisite skills to thrive as commercial farmers.
“The so called minister of land failed to come up with plans on how Government plans to assist poor people after they have been resettled,” added Mbai, saying the government instead opted to “exonerate poor people from benefiting under the land resettlement policies”.
Mbai said he was not shocked by Nujoma’s comments.
“He just followed in the footsteps of Vice President Nangolo Mbumba, who insulted the poor in 2014 during their Swapo Party rally,” he said.
Mbai said Nujoma cannot continue to preside over the land reform ministry, particularly in the run-up to the second national land conference while holding the views expressed during the eNCA interview.
“It is just an indication that these are window dressing conferences and money wasting instruments with no intention of giving land to the poor,” he said.
Nujoma was on Monday quoted by local media as denying the utterances, saying he was misquoted and that eNCA used him to drive its political agenda.