All systems go for land conference … As LPM and AR get invites

Home Front Page News All systems go for land conference … As LPM and AR get invites

WINDHOEK – Recently registered political party Landless People’s Movement (LPM) and pressure group Affirmative Repositioning (AR) have been included on the list of delegates to the all-important second national land conference slated for next week.

Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila confirmed this late yesterday when she also told journalists that the list of attendees, which has increased from 600 to 800, will be availed to the public tomorrow.

In recent weeks, there have been complaints that several key land stakeholders – including civil society groups – were excluded. Some have consequently threatened to lobby for the invited delegates to boycott the event altogether.
Yesterday, LPM confirmed receiving an invitation to the conference.  “LPM confirms the invitation, which came with a condition that we should present on agrarian reform. We’re still studying the invitation though,” said Henny Seibeb, co-founder of the party.

The land conference is scheduled to take place between October 1 to 5 in Windhoek. The official list of all attendees will be made public for viewing on the website of the Ministry of Land Reform on Wednesday.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said invitations were mostly based not on individual persons, but by virtue of their representation.

The PM, who is spearheading the high-level preparatory committee made up of 38 members, said: “Initially, government intended to invite 500 key stakeholders to this conference. However, because of the nature of the issue to be discussed, which touches the livelihood of all Namibians, the number has been increased to over 800 delegates and the majority of the delegates are from grassroots, regions, communities and civil society as well as farming fraternity.” 

She noted that the spectrum of delegates covers all groups and communities with specific emphasis on traditional authorities, local authorities, land experts, central government, political parties, pressure groups, international representatives, academic research institutions, public enterprises, independent statutory representatives and civil society and youth organisations.

“We want the conference to be a consultative platform. We have foreign governments and international delegates. The issue of land is not only important for Namibia’s economy but also to ensure that there is investor confidence and rule of law. We are all assets to this country,” she remarked. 
She, therefore, appealed to all delegates to the conference to focus on national interests and approach it with a sober mind.

The preparatory committee comprises government ministries, civil society, tertiary institutions and non-governmental organisations as well as individuals on the basis of their specific experience or expertise.

So far, she said the committee held four meetings and the last one is expected to be held on Thursday.
The committee also held a closed-door meeting yesterday where they discussed various issues such as invitation of participants to the conference, programme and other documentations, translocation services, live coverage and media centre.

She said the committee yesterday made final inputs to the conference programme, which will also be availed on the land reform ministry’s website on Wednesday.

Equally, she added background information has also been finalised and uploaded on the ministry’s website.
These include the concept paper, the consolidated regional consultation report, the 14th regional reports and all the relevant legislations, policies and bills pertaining to land issues.

Furthermore, she revealed that provision for translation to nine languages namely; English, Afrikaans, Damara/Nama, San, Silozi, Rukwangali, Otjiherero, Oshiwambo and Setswana.
She said plenary sessions include discussions on commercial and communal land reform programmes and related matters; urban land reform and related matters; land tax and valuation system and related matters and ancestral land rights and land acquisition.

The committee is also exploring mechanisms to provide live television and radio coverages in all language services during the proceedings of the official opening by President Hage Geingob, she said.
Other possibilities of live coverage include summary of key regional issues to be presented by 14 regional governors, consensus resolutions and the closing ceremony.