Kae MaÞunÿu-Tjiparuro GOBABIS - In an unprecedented show of unity and closing of ranks, Otjiherero-speaking traditional leaders in the region of Omaheke, recognised and unrecognised, have agreed to immediately have their own consultations before the Second National Land Conference in October. This is to consolidate their respective positions, which speak to one another, and to ensure that they are fully represented at the upcoming land conference as prime movers of their position to do justice to the issue. The traditional leaders were grouped together in a working group during the consultations that started last Thursday and ended Friday. This seems to be catalyst towards an unseen unity among these leaders who in recent history, and dating back to pre-colonial times, have rarely been seeing eye-to-eye. But now on the issue of land, especially, ancestral land, none differ from the common position of their claim to ancestral land and that this must be high on the agenda at the upcoming land conference. Not only this but none but themselves could do justice to it in motivating it to the conference. On the sidelines of the just concluded Omaheke land consultations in Gobabis, the traditional leaders, in an unheralded unity of action, were engaged in intense caucusing surrounding the burning and emotive issue of ancestral land, and their representation at the Second National Land Conference at the imminent land conference if any justice is to be done to this overlong due issue. As much as many of the working groups at the consultations touched on the issue and recommended it with exception of one or two. The San traditional authority working group, which was of the opinion that ancestral land should never be entertained at the land conference, and the Tauana and Bakalagadi that for now reserved its opinion on the matter. The San seem to be of the view that as the original inhabitants of the country are the first and should be the first claimant to ancestral land but are not doing this, could there be any other group claiming such. Thus in their view land redistribution better starts on a clean slate without any ancestral land claims. For Tauana and Bakalagadi working group, on the other hand, they do not have the requisite information on the matter to make an informed opinion thus reserving it at this stage until fully informed. The Otjiherero-speaking group is in consensus about the high priority of ancestral land at the upcoming land conference and them as its prime mover at this conference and thus the need for their representation. While Omaheke may recommend ancestral land claim as an agenda point to the land conference, for it, it may just be one of the issues, and thus for that matter not a priority. Hence the need for those to whom the matter is of high priority to represent themselves. Equally this is a situation that may pertain to other regions as far as ancestral land is concerned. Not only this but there’s legitimate fear that only six of the 14 regions of the country may be in favour of ancestral land which could see the issue not being on the agenda of the ensuing land conference in October, depending on the formula that may apply for any issue to be on the agenda of the conference. The traditional leaders from Omaheke are further of the opinion that the issue of ancestral land is not only of interest and urgency to the Otjiherero-speaking communities but cut across ethnic linguistic and regional lines. Thus, it is prudent for these communities, which include the Damara-Nama communities, to consolidate their respective positions on ancestral land, and subsequently only fair for them to present their unified and consolidated position in person. Currently from the conference programme that has been circulating, safe for representation by some regions, it is not clear how the issue of ancestral land may serve at all and how and by whom? Gotlob Katjirua of the Otjombinde Traditional Authority has been trusted with organising the communities’ consultations.
New Era Reporter
2018-07-30 09:19:41 8 months ago