The northern veterinary cordon fence, also known as the red line, is a proud legacy of apartheid and colonialism that continues to firmly maintain the very intent and purpose for which it was erected.
The red line is a terrible reminder of this country’s racist past and maintaining it borders on celebrating the dark episode that engulfed our country’s past.
Like Daniel François Malan’s so-called Bantustans or homelands, the red line was created with the intention of segregating black farmers from white ones.
While black farmers south of the red line inadvertently benefit from this segregation, because of their geographical location, their counterparts north of the line have suffered untold pains of discrimination.
Sadly, this discrimination has continued unabated 28 years into independence, even when the constitution of our country under the new dispensation is as clear as daylight that any sort of discrimination is criminal.
Farmers north of the red line are not allowed to export their livestock or meat overseas, supposedly due to high risk of animal disease exposure.
They have not been able to tap into the multi-billion dollar beef export boom that Namibia has enjoyed over the past decade - due to a myriad of excuses on why the racist colonial demarcation may not be removed an inch.
As a result, we have citizens secluded and left to fend for themselves – in exactly the mode that colonialists had envisaged it. We have embraced and swallowed their strategy hook, line and sinker. It is a disguised Bantustan regime of Namibian farming.
We were therefore pleased to note that the just-ended national land conference has unpacked this subject and concluded that the fence is draconian, racist and discriminatory.
President Hage Geingob, during his address to Cabinet this week, was clear in assuring northern farmers that their cries for wider market access as a result of the removal of the racist fence are to become a thing of the past very soon.
President Geingob now has an opportunity to cement his legacy as the Namibian head of state under whose administration the fence was removed, thereby promoting inclusive growth and dealing poverty a heavy blow.
The fence’s removal would go in the annals of history as one of the biggest decisions to have freed a huge section of the Namibian population from the shackles of deprivation and economic exclusion. Namibia belongs to all who live in it. It thus can’t be correct that an economic war is waged against a section of the populace.
The trumped-up fear that removing the fence would send the Namibian meat market crashing is both selfish and unproven. Essentially, critics of the fence’s removal are saying it is okay to deprive fellow citizens of a market than sharing one, even at a slightly less-profitable rate.
In other words, in order to protect their heavy profits, Namibians north of the fence must be closed out. This barbaric call is both unpatriotic and unconstitutional. It must be condemned with the contempt it truly deserves.
Government must go ahead with the removal of the fence, by first putting in place whatever measures are necessary to minimise risks associated with such removal. If it means moving the fence to the borders with Angola, as has been the clarion call by many, let us do exactly that.
New Era Reporter
2018-10-12 09:17:10 10 months ago