Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro GOBABIS - Consultations on land is meant to “filter” the views of the inhabitants of the region for the Second National Land Conference in October, says the director of the Omaheke consultations, Kahijoro Kahuure. Gobabis is one of the many towns that is struggling with a rapid increase in informal settlements as a result of farm workers being dumped by farmers in corridors with the informal settlements being their only solace. Officially opening the consultations, Raphael Mokaleng, the Okorukambe Constituency Councillor, says a majority of Namibians have been denied land for centuries, hence the prevailing situation where only a fraction has access to agricultural land. He adds that the land question has political, social and economic dimensions hence equity in land redistribution is necessary for economic production. He also reminded participants that land was central to the liberation struggle, adding that the Second National Land Conference is long overdue and the inhabitants of Omaheke are happy to be hosting such consultations as an important precursor to the land conference which follows the first in 1991. The second land conference being for taking stock of the first in terms of implementation of its resolutions. These consultations follow similar ones last year when several resolutions were taken but shelved due to the postponement of the land conference to allow for broader consultations. He singled out among the recommendations from the earlier consultations, one on ancestral land, pointing out the need for those who have lost and/or been dispossessed of land to receive preferential treatment in land redistribution. The consultations, which continue today, are being attended, among others, by the Minister for Presidential Affairs, Martin Andjaba; Khomas Governor Laura McLeod-Katjirua, herself a former governor of the Omaheke Region, and Attorney General Albert Kawana. A broad spectrum of civic organisations have been invited, as attendance is by invitation only, ranging from traditional leaders, recognised and unrecognised, to community-based organisations like water point committees, faith-based organisations, constituency development committees, youth through the various line ministries, farmers associations and cooperatives, the private sector and women. Welcoming the participants to the town on behalf of the mayor, Councillor John Naodoeb said that given the sensitivity of the land question, he appealed to all participants to take the utmost care and control their emotions in their comments and contributions, mindful of the government policy of reconciliation. After the official opening yesterday, the consultations proceeded with an explanation of the Second National Land Conference Concept Paper as well as a presentation of last year’s regional consultations followed by discussions, as well as the identification of topics related to land which are of concern to the Omaheke Region, followed by discussions.
New Era Reporter
2018-07-27 09:11:26 8 months ago