The Landless People’s Movement over the festive season took a tour around the four northern regions considered Swapo’s stronghold where it sold its agenda for change in a bid to expand its support and membership base.
Swapo has enjoyed near complete domination in presidential, national, regional and local elections since independence
in Omusati, Ohangwena, Oshikoto and Oshana.
Briefing the media on the outcome of the tour yesterday, LPM leader Bernadus Swartbooi said the party was well received in over 36 villages across the five regions, which included Kunene north.
“The north has fallen into LPM hands, and that requires us to strengthen our operational presence and strategic leadership in that corner of Namibia. Our people in the north want LPM, and we are answering their call,” Swartbooi said, adding that with fast growing numbers in the northern regions, an official opening of the party office in Ondangwa, Oshana region, will be done later this month.
“Our experience is that the LPM brand
has become a household name and that society is beginning to recognise LPM as the emerging leader of society,” he added.
Swartbooi said during the tour, the party leadership observed the shrinking of communal land as a result of the ever expansion of urban townland is becoming a real issue.
He said the party is concerned that the traditional authorities are not sufficiently engaged in this urbanisation process, and that traditional authority jurisdiction is undermined.
Equally, he said land and homeowners are not sufficiently consulted and are harassed into selling their property for the sake of town expansion.
“Administration of the process of land acquisition for urban expansion is marred by open corrupt practices by some local authority councillors and their CEOs,” he claimed.
“Oshakati local authority is a major concern in this saga,” he said, adding that the party is looking into the legalities of models applied by the town councils, to ensure fair and just compensation for those that have been relocated.
He said these relocations often appear forceful, and have the consequence of undermining and decapitating the centuries-old lifestyle and agrarian character of many of the residents in the north, as was done in other parts of the country before and during apartheid.
“This urbanisation undermined food security and food sovereignty of many black communities across the African landscape,” he said.
Swartbooi said the LPM also saw how an established culture of extortion of landless Namibians by village headmen continues unabated in the Oshikoto region, especially outside Omuthiya town boundaries.
He said the party will closely study the relevant customary and statutory law provisions regarding this matter, which the council of traditional leaders must also place on its agenda for deliberations.
LPM has declared itself the second largest political party in Namibia, after an impressive display during the 2020 regional councils and local authority elections.
During such elections, LPM emerged as the biggest winner in the //Kharas and Hardap regions after securing the majority seats in the two region’s local authorities.
Swartbooi yesterday said the party also had tours in the Omaheke and the Khomas region. He said during the tours, overwhelming new and young (15 to 75-year-olds) from the villages signed up as members of the party.
“Specific expansion plans continue across the 14 regions of the country. PDM was quick to thank voters but failed to make use of its 2 330 votes from the 2021 Opuwo Rural by-elections,” he said.