The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform has told the Gubagub community – who remain steadfast on ancestral land claims – that landlessness is becoming chronic in Namibia but it is not unique to Khomas region where they claim to have lost land.
The Gubagub landless community is a grassroots movement under the guidance of its elders’ council with a steering committee claiming land (farmland) in the south-east of Khomas.
The community raised their concern with the land reform ministry back in early 2018 claiming that over the many years none of their members were considered for resettlement, not even for group resettlement.
Gubagub landless community also submitted their ancestral land right and restitution claims to the commission of inquiry and are hoping, waiting and trusting that the government under President Hage Geingob will do justice to those communities and individuals who lost ancestral land.
In a letter authored by the Gubagub landless community steering committee, they stress that they strongly believe the land must be shared by the white previously advantaged minorities with landless blacks, who lost land at the expense of the inhumane, colonial and apartheid South African regime.
“As a community who lost vast tracks of farmland alongside and in the Gubagub (Skaaprivier) area of Khomas East and who remain landless in our motherland for 30 years after independence, we shall continue fighting for what rightfully belongs to us,” their letter reads in part.
Contacted for comment, spokesperson for the land reform ministry Chrispin Matongela said that the group is well-known to the ministry regarding their plight, and it’s really unfortunate that the issue has not yet been resolved.
“Landlessness is becoming chronic in this country, and it’s not unique to Khomas region, it is a national quagmire, bogging all of us, and there is no quick fix to their sentiments, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. All I can say is that their concern has been noted and the minister’s office will be appraised accordingly. It is also good to hear that they submitted their ancestral land right and restitution claim to the commission of inquiry for collating and future consideration,” Matongela responded.
The community threatened to return with more marches or petitions once the Covid-19 state of emergency has been lifted.
In the meantime the community is busy collecting monthly contributions, annual registration fees and hosting small fund-raising activities for their cause.
“During June 2018 the former deputy minister of information Engel !Nawatiseb stated that the ancestral land rights recognition and restitution commission does not promise anything to communities who lost ancestral land. The same comment was made by the deputy chairperson of the commission Phanuel Kapaama on 5 August 2019 during a briefing session in Katutura when an affected community member asked the panel what guarantee the commission can give those who lost their ancestral land,” they said. “The GLC [Gubagub landless community], like all other landless communities and individuals, do not know what political game will be played by government and the commission in dealing with the submitted ancestral land right claims. However, the community wants to make it clear that some communities and individuals in Namibia never lost ancestral land, yet these communities and individuals continue having and enjoying land rights privileges with economic and social benefits on land others unjustifiably lost,” further reads their letter.